Isothiocyanates inhibit psoriasis-related proinflammatory factors in human skin

Inflamm Res. 2012 Jul;61(7):735-42. doi: 10.1007/s00011-012-0465-3. Epub 2012 Mar 28.


Objective: 4-Methylthiobutylisothiocyanate (MTBI), the main rocket (Eruca sativa) seed isothiocyanate (ITC), and its oxidized form, sulforaphane (SFN), were assessed for their potential effects on psoriasis-related factors.

Methods: MTBI and SFN were evaluated for their effect on mRNA expression and cytokine secretion in vitro in human monocytes and macrophage-like cells and ex vivo in topically treated inflamed human skin. In addition, they were assayed in vivo for morphological changes in topically treated psoriasiform human skin in severe-combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice.

Results: MTBI and SFN contributed to the prevention of inflammation development and reduced ongoing inflammation by downregulating lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced mRNA expression of the psoriasis-related cytokines, interleukin (IL)-12/23p40 (25-58 %), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α (15-37 %) and IL-6 (25-71 %), in human macrophage-like cells. In monocytes, they tended to act additively on cytokine mRNA and reduced IL-12/23p40 (51 %) secretion. In an ex-vivo inflamed human skin organ culture, MTBI (1 μg/ml) reduced the secretion of IL-1 (39 %) and IL-6 (32 %). Moreover, 2/8 and 3/8 of the MTBI- and SFN-treated psoriasiform SCID mice, respectively, recovered partially or entirely from the psoriasiform process.

Conclusions: Results from these models indicate the potential of rocket seed ITCs as biological agents in the therapy of psoriasis and inflammation-related skin diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cytokines / genetics*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / genetics
  • Isothiocyanates / pharmacology
  • Isothiocyanates / therapeutic use*
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes / cytology
  • Monocytes / drug effects
  • Psoriasis / drug therapy*
  • Psoriasis / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Sulfoxides
  • Thiocyanates / pharmacology
  • Thiocyanates / therapeutic use*
  • Transplantation, Heterologous
  • Young Adult


  • Cytokines
  • Isothiocyanates
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Sulfoxides
  • Thiocyanates
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • sulforaphane