Brassica oleracea extract, glucosinlates, and sulforaphane promote hair growth in vitro and ex vivo

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2022 Mar;21(3):1178-1184. doi: 10.1111/jocd.14180. Epub 2021 May 1.


Background: Androgenic alopecia (AGA) is the most common type of hair loss, in which dihyrotestosterone (DHT) plays a crucial role via modulating androgen receptors in hair follicles.

Aims: The current objective is to search for new therapy of AGA.

Methods: In the present study, we investigated the effects of sulforaphane, its precursor glucosinlates and glucosinlates-enriched Brassica oleracea L.var.italic Planch extract (BOE) on the growth of hair follicle and the related matrix cell viability, as well as the possible underlying mechanisms in vitro and ex vivo.

Results: We observed that BOE, glucosinlates, and sulforaphane can prevent the testosterone-induced inhibition of dermal papilla (DP) cells viability. BOE and sulforaphane can even hinder the testosterone-induced inhibition of HaCaT cells viability. Moreover, BOE, glucosinlates, and sulforaphane can up-regulate the cytokeratin gene expression in HaCaT cells, prevent the increase in Bax gene levels induced by testosterone in DP, and promote the growth of hair follicle of mice. These effects can be linked to the enhancement of DP and HaCaT cells activities and the prevention of the testosterone-induced cell apoptosis of DP cells.

Conclusions: Taken together, BOE, glucosinlates, and sulforaphane can promote the growth of hair follicle of mice and can be used as potential treatment agents for androgenic alopecia.

Keywords: Brassica oleracea extract; glucosinlates; hair growth; sulforaphane.

MeSH terms

  • Alopecia* / chemically induced
  • Brassica*
  • Hair Follicle
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Sulfoxides


  • Isothiocyanates
  • Plant Extracts
  • Sulfoxides
  • sulforaphane