Goitrogenic content of Indian cyanogenic plant foods & their in vitro anti-thyroidal activity

Indian J Med Res. 2004 May;119(5):180-5.


Background & objectives: Consumption of cyanogenic foods has been considered as one of the etiological factors in certain instances for the persistence of endemic goitre. The present study was undertaken to study the cyanogenic glucosides, glucosinolates and thiocyanate content in edible portion of certain selected plant foods of Indian origin. Further in vitro anti-thyroidal activity using raw, boiled and cooked extracts of these plants with and without excess iodide was also studied.

Methods: Cyanogenic plant foods generally vegetables were collected from different areas of West Bengal and Tripura. Cassava was obtained from Meghalaya and Kerala and their cyanogenic glucosides, glucosinolates and thiocyanate were estimated. Thyroid peroxidase activity (TPO) of human thyroid was assayed from microsomal fraction following I3- from iodide. The anti-TPO activities of the plants were assayed after adding raw, boiled and cooked extracts in the assay medium with and without extra iodide. Relative antithyroidal potency of the plant extracts was also evaluated in terms of the concentration (IC50) necessary to produce 50 per cent inhibition of TPO activity. PTU equivalence of the plant foods was also determined.

Results: Cabbage and cauliflower were rich in glucosinolates, bamboo shoot and cassava were rich in cyanogenic glucosides, mustard, turnip and radish were relatively rich in thiocyanate however all the constituents were present in each plant. Boiled extracts showed maximum inhibition of TPO activity followed by cooked and raw extracts. Excess iodide was found relatively effective for raw extract but less effective for boiled and cooked extracts in reversing anti-TPO activity. Inhibition constant (IC50) was found highest with bamboo shoot and least with cabbage.

Interpretation & conclusion: Raw, boiled and cooked extracts of the plants showed anti-thyroidal activity in vitro. Excess iodide reversed the anti-TPO activity to same extent but could not neutralise it.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antithyroid Agents / chemistry
  • Antithyroid Agents / metabolism*
  • Cooking
  • Glucosides / analysis
  • Glucosinolates / analysis
  • Goiter, Endemic / etiology*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Iodide Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Iodides / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plants, Edible / chemistry*
  • Thiocyanates / analysis


  • Antithyroid Agents
  • Glucosides
  • Glucosinolates
  • Iodides
  • Plant Extracts
  • Thiocyanates
  • Iodide Peroxidase
  • thiocyanate