Synergy between sulforaphane and selenium in the up-regulation of thioredoxin reductase and protection against hydrogen peroxide-induced cell death in human hepatocytes.

Dan Li, Wei Wang, Yujuan Shan, Lawrence N. Barrera, Alexander F. Howie, Geoffrey J. Beckett, Kun Wu, Yongping Bao

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Dietary isothiocyanates and selenium are chemopreventive agents and potent inducers of antioxidant enzymes. It has been previously shown that sulforaphane and selenium have a synergistic effect on the upregulation of thioredoxin reductase-1 (TrxR-1) in human hepatoma HepG2 cells. In this paper, further evidence is presented to show that sulforaphane and selenium synergistically induce TrxR-1 expression in immortalised human hepatocytes. Sulforaphane was found to be more toxic toward hepatocytes than HepG2 cells with IC50 = 25.1 and 56.4 µM, respectively. Sulforaphane can protect against hydrogen peroxide-induced cell death and this protection was enhanced by co-treatment with selenium. Using siRNA to knock down TrxR-1 or Nrf2, sulforaphane (5 µM)-protected cell viability was reduced from 73% to 46% and 34%, respectively, suggesting that TrxR-1 is an important enzyme in protection against hydrogen peroxide-induced cell death. Sulforaphane-induced TrxR-1 expression was positively associated with significant levels of Nrf2 translocation into the nucleus, but co-treatment with selenium showed no significant increase in Nrf2 translocation. Moreover, MAPK (ERK, JNK and p38) and PI3K/Akt signalling pathways were found to play no significant role in sulforaphane-induced Nrf2 translocation into the nucleus. However, blocking ERK and JNK signalling pathways decreased sulforaphane-induced TrxR-1 mRNA by about 20%; whereas blocking p38 and PI3K/AKT increased TrxR-1 transcription. In summary, a combination of sulforaphane and selenium resulted in a synergistic upregulation of TrxR-1 that contributed to the enhanced protection against free radical-mediated oxidative damage in human hepatocytes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-307
Number of pages8
JournalFood Chemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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