Protective role of sulphoraphane against vascular complications in diabetes

Pharm Biol. 2016 Oct;54(10):2329-39. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2016.1138314. Epub 2016 Feb 3.


Context Diabetes is a global health challenge. Although large prospective clinical trials have shown that intensive control of blood glucose or blood pressure reduces the risk for development and progression of vascular complications in diabetes, a substantial number of diabetic patients still experience renal failure and cardiovascular events, which could account for disabilities and high mortality rate in these subjects. Objective Sulphoraphane is a naturally occurring isothiocyanate found in widely consumed cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, and an inducer of phase II antioxidant and detoxification enzymes with anticancer properties. We reviewed here the protective role of sulphoraphane against diabetic vascular complications. Methods In this review, literature searches were undertaken in Medline and in CrossRef. Non-English language articles were excluded. Keywords [sulphoraphane and (diabetes, diabetic nephropathy, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy, diabetic complications, vascular, cardiomyocytes, heart or glycation)] have been used to select the articles. Results There is accumulating evidence that sulphoraphane exerts beneficial effects on vascular damage in both cell culture and diabetic animal models via antioxidative properties. Furthermore, we have recently found that sulphoraphane inhibits in vitro formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs), suppresses the AGE-induced inflammatory reactions in rat aorta by reducing receptor for AGEs (RAGE) expression and decreases serum levels of AGEs in humans. Conclusion These findings suggest that blockade of oxidative stress and/or the AGE-RAGE axis by sulphoraphane may be a novel therapeutic strategy for preventing vascular complications in diabetes.

Keywords: AGEs; RAGE; cardiovascular disease; diabetic angiopathy; oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antioxidants / adverse effects
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / etiology
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / metabolism
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / prevention & control*
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Isothiocyanates / adverse effects
  • Isothiocyanates / therapeutic use*
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products / metabolism


  • AGER protein, human
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced
  • Isothiocyanates
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • NFE2L2 protein, human
  • Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products
  • sulforafan