Brassica-Derived Plant Bioactives as Modulators of Chemopreventive and Inflammatory Signaling Pathways

Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Sep 1;18(9):1890. doi: 10.3390/ijms18091890.


A high consumption of vegetables belonging to the Brassicaceae family has been related to a lower incidence of chronic diseases including different kinds of cancer. These beneficial effects of, e.g., broccoli, cabbage or rocket (arugula) intake have been mainly dedicated to the sulfur-containing glucosinolates (GLSs)-secondary plant compounds nearly exclusively present in Brassicaceae-and in particular to their bioactive breakdown products including isothiocyanates (ITCs). Overall, the current literature indicate that selected Brassica-derived ITCs exhibit health-promoting effects in vitro, as well as in laboratory mice in vivo. Some studies suggest anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties for ITCs which may be communicated through an activation of the redox-sensitive transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) that controls the expression of antioxidant and phase II enzymes. Furthermore, it has been shown that ITCs are able to significantly ameliorate a severe inflammatory phenotype in colitic mice in vivo. As there are studies available suggesting an epigenetic mode of action for Brassica-derived phytochemicals, the conduction of further studies would be recommendable to investigate if the beneficial effects of these compounds also persist during an irregular consumption pattern.

Keywords: Brassicaceae; NFκB; Nrf2; epigenetics; isothiocyanates; sulforaphane.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / chemistry
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Brassica / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diet therapy
  • Isothiocyanates / chemistry
  • Isothiocyanates / therapeutic use
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / diet therapy
  • Phytochemicals / therapeutic use
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Vegetables


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Phytochemicals