Wheat sprouts contain a very high level of organic phosphates and a powerful cocktail of different molecules such as enzymes, reducing glycosides and polyphenols. The antioxidant properties of wheat sprouts have been widely documented and it has been shown that they are able to protect DNA against free-radicals mediated oxidative damage. Furthermore, we have recently reported on the effects of several polyphenols on 20S proteasomes, underlying the dual role of epigallocatechin-3-gallate as an antioxidant and a proteasome effector in cancer cells. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of wheat sprout extracts on 20S proteasome functionality. Wheat sprout extracts have been analysed and characterized for their polyphenolic content using the Folin-Ciocalteau reagent and RP-HPLC technique. Comparing our data with a polyphenol standard mixture we identified five different polyphenols: gallic acid, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, epigallocatechin, epicatechin and catechin. The treatment of isolated 20S proteasomes with the extract induced a gradual inhibition of all the tested components, ChT-L, T-L, PGPH and BrAAP, in both the complexes. At low extract concentration a slight activation of the enzyme was evident only for the BrAAP component of the constitutive enzyme and the ChT-L activity of the immunoproteasome. beta-casein degradation rate decreased, particularly with the immunoproteasome. Human Colon adenocarcinoma (Caco) cells, stimulated with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate, showed activation of the 20S proteasome activities at short incubation times and an increase in intracellular oxidative proteins. Cells treatment with wheat sprout extract led to proteasome inhibition in unstimulated cells and attenuated the effects mediated by TPA. Finally, exposure to the extract affected the expression levels of pro-apoptotic proteins.