Transcription factor Nrf2 is essential for induction of NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1, glutathione S-transferases, and glutamate cysteine ligase by broccoli seeds and isothiocyanates

Gail K McWalter, Larry G Higgins, Lesley I McLellan, Colin J Henderson, Lijiang Song, Paul J Thornalley, Ken Itoh, Masayuki Yamamoto, John D Hayes
Journal of Nutrition 2004, 134 (12 Suppl): 3499S-3506S
Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates that, after conversion to isothiocyanates (ITC), are capable of inducing cytoprotective genes. We examined whether broccoli seeds can elicit a chemoprotective response in mouse organs and rodent cell lines and investigated whether this response requires nuclear factor-erythroid 2 p45-related factor 2 (Nrf2). The seeds studied contained glucosinolate at 40 mmol/kg, of which 59% comprised glucoiberin, 19% sinigrin, 8% glucoraphanin, and 7% progoitrin. Dietary administration of broccoli seeds to nrf2(+/+) and nrf2(-/-) mice produced a approximately 1.5-fold increase in NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) and glutathione S-transferase (GST) activities in stomach, small intestine, and liver of wild-type mice but not in mutant mice; increased transferase activity was associated with elevated levels of GSTA1/2, GSTA3, and GSTM1/2 subunits. These seeds also increased significantly the level of glutamate cysteine ligase catalytic (GCLC) subunit in the stomach and the small intestine of nrf2(+/+) mice but not nrf2(-/-) mice. An aqueous broccoli seed extract was prepared for treatment of cultured cells that contained ITC at approximately 600 mumol/L, composed of 61% 3-methylsulfinylpropyl ITC, 30% sulforaphane, 4% allyl ITC, and 4% 3-butenyl ITC. This extract induced GSTA1/2, GSTA3, NQO1, and GCLC between 3-fold and 10-fold in mouse Hepa-1c1c7 and rat liver RL-34 cells. The broccoli seed extract affected increases in GSTA3, GSTM1, and NQO1 proteins in nrf2(+/+) mouse embryonic fibroblasts but not in nrf2(-/-) mouse embryonic fibroblasts. These experiments show that broccoli seeds are effective at inducing antioxidant and detoxication proteins, both in vivo and ex vivo, in an Nrf2-dependent manner.

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