Research on cruciferous vegetables, indole-3-carbinol, and cancer prevention: A tribute to Lee W. Wattenberg

Naomi Fujioka, Vincent Fritz, Pramod Upadhyaya, Fekadu Kassie, Stephen S Hecht
Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 2016, 60 (6): 1228-38
Lee W. Wattenberg, who spent his entire career at the University of Minnesota, was a true pioneer in the field of chemoprevention. This paper is a tribute to his groundbreaking research which uncovered the cancer prevention properties of many dietary compounds, including those discussed here in some detail-indole-3-carbinol and diindolylmethane. These compounds occur as glucosinolate conjugates in cruciferous vegetables and are released when one chews or otherwise macerates the vegetable. They have numerous beneficial effects including the ability to prevent cancer in laboratory animals treated with carcinogens. We review some of the early work on indole-3-carbinol and diindolylmethane which spurred subsequent studies on their efficacy and molecular mechanisms of prevention. We also present unique data on field conditions that affect levels of their glucosinolate precursors in vegetables and on the release of diindolylmethane in people who consume cruciferous vegetables.


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