Induction of detoxification enzymes by feeding unblanched Brussels sprouts containing active myrosinase to mice for 2 wk

J Food Sci. 2010 Aug 1;75(6):H190-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01713.x.


In cruciferous vegetables, myrosinase metabolizes the relatively inactive glucosinolates into isothiocyanates and other products that have the ability to increase detoxification enzyme expression. Thus, maintaining myrosinase activity during food preparation may be critical to receiving the maximum benefit of consumption of Brussels sprouts or other cruciferous vegetables. To test the importance of maintaining myrosinase activity for maximizing bioactivity, experimental diets containing 20% unblanched (active myrosinase) or 20% blanched (inactivated myrosinase) freeze-dried Brussels sprouts and a nutrient-matched control diet were evaluated in vitro and in vivo for their ability to induce detoxification enzymes. Treatment of immortalized HepG2 human hepatoma cells with the unblanched Brussels sprout diet caused a greater increase quinone activity compared to the blanched Brussels sprout diet. C3H/HeJ mice fed the unblanched Brussels sprout diets for 2 wk had significantly higher plasma sulforaphane concentrations. Liver expression of CYP1A1 and epoxide hydrolase, measured using real-time PCR, was correlated with the plasma concentration of sulforaphane. In the lung, expression of epoxide hydrolase, thioredoxin reductase, UDP glucuronosyltransferase, quinone reductase, heme oxygenase, CYP1A1, CYP1A2, and CYP1B1 were also correlated with the plasma concentration of sulforaphane. Together these data demonstrate that, as predicted by the in vitro experiment, in vivo exposure to Brussels sprouts with active myrosinase resulted in greater induction of both phase I and phase II detoxification enzymes in the liver and the lungs that correlated with plasma sulforaphane concentrations.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brassica* / chemistry
  • Brassica* / enzymology
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1 / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1 / metabolism
  • Enzyme Induction
  • Epoxide Hydrolases / genetics
  • Epoxide Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic* / drug effects
  • Glucosinolates / analysis
  • Glucosinolates / metabolism
  • Glycoside Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Inactivation, Metabolic
  • Isothiocyanates / analysis
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Lung / enzymology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Leaves / enzymology
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary / metabolism*
  • Quinone Reductases / genetics
  • Quinone Reductases / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Sulfoxides
  • Thiocyanates / blood*
  • Thiocyanates / metabolism


  • Glucosinolates
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Sulfoxides
  • Thiocyanates
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1
  • Quinone Reductases
  • Glycoside Hydrolases
  • thioglucosidase
  • Epoxide Hydrolases
  • sulforaphane