Identification of 6-methylsulfinylhexyl isothiocyanate as an apoptosis-inducing component in wasabi

Phytochemistry. 2003 Mar;62(5):733-9. doi: 10.1016/s0031-9422(02)00613-1.


The ethanol extract from Japanese horseradish wasabi was found to inhibit cell proliferation in human monoblastic leukemia U937 cells by inducing apoptotic cell death. Separation by methods including silica gel chromatography and preparative HPLC gave an active compound, which was identified as 6-methylsulfinylhexyl isothiocyanate (6-HITC). Several lines of evidence indicated that 6-HITC induced apoptosis in U937 cells and human stomach cancer MKN45 cells. Thus, 6-HITC is potentially useful as a natural anti-cancer agent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Chromatin / ultrastructure
  • Chromatography, Gel
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • DNA Fragmentation / drug effects
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Isothiocyanates / chemistry
  • Isothiocyanates / isolation & purification
  • Isothiocyanates / pharmacology*
  • Leukemia, Monocytic, Acute / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry
  • Stomach Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / cytology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / ultrastructure
  • U937 Cells
  • Wasabia / chemistry*


  • 6-methylsulfinylhexyl isothiocyanate
  • Chromatin
  • Isothiocyanates