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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Growth inhibition, cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis in human T-cell leukemia by the isothiocyanate sulforaphane.

Glucosinolates (GL) can inhibit, retard or reverse experimental multistage carcinogenesis. When brassica plant tissue is broken, GLs are hydrolyzed by the endogenous enzyme myrosinase (Myr), releasing many products including isothiocyanates (ITC). Synthetic ITCs like sulforaphane exert chemopreventive effects against chemically induced tumors in animals, modulating enzymes required for carcinogens' activation/detoxification and/or the induction of cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis in tumor cell lines. To investigate the chemopreventive potential of ITCs while reproducing the circumstances of dietary contact with sulforaphane, we studied proliferation, apoptosis induction and p53, bcl-2 and bax protein expression in Jurkat T-leukemia cells by sulforaphane, the ITC generated in situ in a quantitative manner by Myr starting from glucoraphanin (GRA). Jurkat cells were treated with different doses of GRA-Myr mixture. Effects on cell growth or survival were evaluated by counting trypan blue-excluding cells. Cell-cycle progression, apoptosis and expression of p53, bax and bcl-2 proteins were analyzed by flow cytometry. Results were analyzed by two-sided Fisher's exact test. Sulforaphane, but not GRA, caused G(2)/M-phase arrest (P = 0.028) and increase of apoptotic cell fraction (P < 0.0001) in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Necrosis was observed after prolonged exposure to elevated sulforaphane doses. Moreover, it markedly increased p53 and bax protein expression, and slightly affected bcl-2 expression. These findings indicate that sulforaphane but not the native GL GRA can exert both protective and toxic effects inhibiting leukemic cell growth. Sulforaphane therefore deserves study as a potential chemopreventive/chemotherapeutic antileukemic agent.[1]


  1. Growth inhibition, cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis in human T-cell leukemia by the isothiocyanate sulforaphane. Fimognari, C., Nüsse, M., Cesari, R., Iori, R., Cantelli-Forti, G., Hrelia, P. Carcinogenesis (2002) [Pubmed]
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