Sulforaphane-rich broccoli sprout extract improves hepatic abnormalities in male subjects

World J Gastroenterol. 2015 Nov 21;21(43):12457-67. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i43.12457.


Aim: To evaluate effects of dietary supplementation of sulforaphane (SF)-rich broccoli sprout (BS) extract on hepatic abnormalities in Japanese male participants.

Methods: In a randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind trial, male participants with fatty liver received either BS capsules containing glucoraphanin [GR; a precursor of SF (n = 24)] or placebo (n = 28) for 2 mo. Liver function markers, serum levels of aspartate and alanine aminotransferases (AST and ALT, respectively) and γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (γ-GTP) and an oxidative stress marker, urinary levels of 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), were measured and compared in participants before and after the trial period. In an animal model, chronic liver failure was induced in Sprague-Dawley rats by successive intraperitoneal injection with N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) for 4 wk. Concomitantly, rats received AIN-76 diets supplemented with or without BS extract. Thereafter, rats were sacrificed, and their sera and livers were collected to measure serum liver function markers and hepatic levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) levels and hepatic glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity, a prototypical phase 2 antioxidant enzyme.

Results: Dietary supplementation with BS extract containing SF precursor GR for 2 mo significantly decreased serum levels of liver function markers, ALT [median (interquartile range), before: 54.0 (34.5-79.0) vs after supplementation: 48.5 (33.3-65.3) IU/L, P < 0.05] and γ-GTP [before: 51.5 (40.8-91.3) vs after: 50.0 (37.8-85.3) IU/L, P < 0.05], as well as the alkali phosphatase activity. Placebo showed no significant effects on the markers. The urinary level of 8-OHdG, an established oxidative stress marker, was significantly reduced in participants who had received BS capsules but not the placebo [before: 6.66 (5.51-9.03) vs after: 5.49 (4.89-6.66) ng/mg-creatinine, P < 0.05]. The reduction of urinary 8-OHdG was significantly correlated with decreased levels of both ALT and γ-GTP [∆8-OHdG and ∆ALT: Spearman r (r) 0.514 and P = 0.012, ∆8-OHdG and ∆γ-GTP: r = 0.496 and P = 0.016]. Intake of BS extract prevented NDMA-induced chronic liver failure in rats, which was attributable to the suppression of the increase in TBARS through induction of hepatic phase 2 antioxidant enzymes including hepatic GST (86.6 ± 95.2 vs 107.8 ± 7.7 IU/g, P < 0.01).

Conclusion: Dietary supplementation with BS extract containing the SF precursor GR is likely to be highly effective in improving liver function through reduction of oxidative stress.

Keywords: Broccoli sprout; Glucoraphanin; Hepatic abnormality; Nrf2; Oxidative stress; Phase 2 enzymes; Sulforaphane.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / adverse effects
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Brassica / chemistry*
  • Dietary Supplements* / adverse effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Liver / blood
  • Fatty Liver / diagnosis
  • Fatty Liver / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Isothiocyanates / adverse effects
  • Isothiocyanates / isolation & purification
  • Isothiocyanates / therapeutic use*
  • Japan
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Seedlings
  • Sulfoxides
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Plant Extracts
  • Sulfoxides
  • sulforaphane