The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of isothiocyanates (ITCs) in delaying the progression of the murine immunodeficiency virus to murine AIDS, resulting in increased life span. Furthermore, we investigated the role of ITCs in modulating immune dysfunction caused by LP-BM5 retrovirus infection. Among the tested ITCs, oral administration of sulforaphane (SUL), benzyl isothiocyante (BITC), and phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) showed the inhibition of premature death caused by LP-BM5 retrovirus infection, while indolo[3,2-b] carbazole (ICZ) and indole-3-carbinol (I3C) did not delay the progress of the LP-BM5 retrovirus to murine AIDS. Inhibition of premature death by BITC, PEITC, and SUL could be explained by restoration of the immune system and down regulation of free radicals. Dysfunction of T and B cell mitogenesis caused by retrovirus infection in primary cultured splenocytes has been partially recovered with administration of BITC, PEITC, and SUL. There was a shift from imbalanced cytokine production (increased Th2 and decreased Th1 cell cytokine production) into balanced Th1/Th2 cell secretion of cytokines under administration of these ITCs during the development of murine AIDS. Hepatic vitamin E level was significantly restored by administration of these ITCs, in accordance with reduced hepatic lipid peroxidation levels. This study suggests that certain types of ITCs have beneficial effects in preventing premature death during progression to murine AIDS by restoration of immune dysfunction and removal of excessive free radicals, implying that selective usage of ITCs would be helpful in retarding the progression from HIV infection to AIDS.