On the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of allyl and phenethyl isothiocyanates and their parent glucosinolates sinigrin and gluconasturtiin

Mutat Res. 1995 Sep;348(1):19-23. doi: 10.1016/0165-7992(95)90016-0.


Four compounds commonly found in the human diet, allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) and their parent glucosinolates sinigrin and gluconasturtiin, were tested for cytotoxic and genotoxic effects in a Chinese hamster ovary cell line (CHO). The isothiocyanates were found to be more than one thousand times more cytotoxic than the glucosinolates, showing significant cytotoxic activity at concentrations below 1.0 microgram/ml. AITC was unable to induce either chromosome aberrations or sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs) even at highly cytotoxic doses. In contrast, PEITC was found to induce both aberrations and SCE at concentrations of 0.9-1.2 micrograms/ml whilst sinigrin and gluconasturtiin induced aberrations at concentrations above 2 mg/ml.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CHO Cells / drug effects
  • Cell Death / drug effects*
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Cricetinae
  • Glucosinolates / toxicity*
  • Isothiocyanates / toxicity*
  • Mitotic Index / drug effects
  • Mutagens / toxicity*
  • Sister Chromatid Exchange / drug effects


  • Glucosinolates
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Mutagens
  • sinigrin
  • phenethyl isothiocyanate
  • allyl isothiocyanate