Background: Smokers have increased susceptibility and altered innate host defense responses to influenza virus infection. Broccoli sprouts are a source of the Nrf2 activating agentsulforaphane, and short term ingestion of broccoli sprout homogenates (BSH) has been shown to reduce nasal inflammatory responses to oxidant pollutants.
Objectives: Assess the effects of BSH on nasal cytokines, virus replication, and Nrf2-dependent enzyme expression in smokers and nonsmokers.
Methods: We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial comparing the effects of BSH on serially sampled nasal lavage fluid (NLF) cytokines, viral sequence quantity, and Nrf2-dependent enzyme expression in NLF cells and biopsied epithelium. Healthy young adult smokers and nonsmokers ingested BSH or placebo (alfalfa sprout homogenate) for 4 days, designated Days -1, 0, 1, 2. On Day 0 they received standard vaccine dose of live attenuated influenza virus (LAIV) intranasally. Nasal lavage fluids and nasal biopsies were collected serially to assess response to LAIV.
Results: In area under curve analyses, post-LAIV IL-6 responses (P = 0.03) and influenza sequences (P = 0.01) were significantly reduced in NLF from BSH-treated smokers, while
Nad(p)h: quinoneoxidoreductasein NLF cells was significantly increased. In nonsmokers, a similar trend for reduction in virus quantity with BSH did not reach statistical significance.
Conclusions: In smokers, short term ingestion of broccoli sprout homogenates appears to significantly reduce some virus-induced markers of inflammation, as well as reducing virus quantity. Nutritional antioxidant interventions have promise as a safe, low-cost strategy for reducing influenza risk among smokers and other at risk populations.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01269723.