Evaluation of protective effects of sulforaphane on DNA damage caused by exposure to low levels of pesticide mixture using comet assay

J Environ Sci Health B. 2009 Sep;44(7):657-62. doi: 10.1080/03601230903163624.


The objective of the study was to evaluate the potential risk of DNA damage due to exposure to a mixture of the most widely used pesticides, namely endosulfan, chlorpyriphos and thiram at an environmentally relevant concentration (5 microM each) and the DNA protective capacity of sulforaphane (SFN) (10-30 microg/mL). DNA damage in human lymphocytes was ascertained with Single Cell Gel Electrophoresis (SCGE), also called Comet Assay. For positive control, H(2)O(2) at 100 mM was used. The pesticide mixture produced DNA damage at the concentration used in the lymphocytes. SFN was able to offer a statistically significant (P < 0.01), concentration-dependant protection to DNA damage between 10-20 microg/mL in both the pre-incubation and co-incubation strategies. The results indicate that exposure to low levels of these pesticide mixtures can induce DNA damage, and the presence of SFN in diet may reduce the incidence of genetic damage, especially in farm workers. However, it is not clear whether SFN is involved in quenching of the free radicals generated by the pesticide mixture or it is involved in DNA repair mechanism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chlorpyrifos / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Chlorpyrifos / toxicity
  • Comet Assay
  • DNA Damage / drug effects*
  • Endosulfan / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Endosulfan / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Lymphocytes / chemistry
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Male
  • Pesticides / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Pesticides / toxicity
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Thiocyanates / pharmacology*
  • Thiram / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Thiram / toxicity


  • Isothiocyanates
  • Pesticides
  • Protective Agents
  • Thiocyanates
  • Thiram
  • sulforaphane
  • Chlorpyrifos
  • Endosulfan