TrxR1 and Gpx2 are potently induced by isothiocyanates and selenium, and mutually cooperate to protect Caco-2 cells against free radical-mediated cell death

Lawrence N. Barrera, Aedin Cassidy, Wei Wang, Taotao Wei, Nigel J. Belshaw, Ian T. Johnson, Regina Brigelius-Flohe, Yongping Bao

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Currently, there is significant interest in the field of diet–gene interactions and the mechanisms by which food compounds regulate gene expression to modify cancer susceptibility. From a nutrition perspective, two key components potentially exert cancer chemopreventive effects: isothiocyanates (ITCs), present in cruciferous vegetables, and selenium (Se) which, as selenocysteine, is an integral part of selenoproteins. However, the role of these compounds in the expression of key selenoenzymes once the cancer process has been initiated still needs elucidation. Therefore, this investigation examined the effect of two forms of selenium, selenium-methylselenocysteine and sodium selenite, both individually and in combination with two ITCs, sulforaphane or iberin, on the expression of the two selenoenzymes, thioredoxin reductase 1 (TrxR1) and gastrointestinal glutathione peroxidase (GPx2), which are targets of ITCs, in Caco-2 cells. Co-treatment with both ITCs and Se induced expression of TrxR1 and GPx2 more than either compound alone. Moreover, pre-treatment of cells with ITC + Se enhanced cytoprotection against H2O2-induced cell death through a ROS-dependent mechanism. Furthermore, a single and double knockdown of TrxR1 and/or GPx2 suggested that both selenoproteins were responsible for protecting against H2O2-induced cell death. Together, these data shed new light on the mechanism of interactions between ITC and Se in which translational expression of the enhanced transcripts by the former is dependent on an adequate Se supply, resulting in a cooperative antioxidant protective effect against cell death.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1914-1924
Number of pages11
JournalBBA-Molecular Cell Research
Issue number10
Early online date20 Jul 2012
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

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