Induction of hepatic thioredoxin reductase activity by sulforaphane, both in Hepa1c1c7 cells and in male Fisher 344 rats

Korry J. Hintze, Anna Sigrid Keck, John W. Finley, Elizabeth H. Jeffery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sulforaphane (SF), a glucosinolate-derived isothiocyanate found in cruciferous vegetables, is considered an anticarcinogenic component in broccoli. Sulforaphane induces a battery of detoxification enzymes, including quinone reductase (QR). Induction is thought to be mediated through a common regulatory region termed the antioxidant response element (ARE). To test the hypothesis that the antioxidant selenoprotein thioredoxin reductase (TR) may be induced as part of this coordinated host-defense response to dietary anticarcinogenic compounds, TR activity was measured in livers of rats pair-fed diets containing SF and/or broccoli (n = 6/group). At the doses used, neither SF nor broccoli alone significantly elevated TR activity, whereas treatments containing both broccoli and SF caused a significant increase in TR activity. Glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), a second selenium-dependant enzyme with antioxidant activity, was downregulated in rats fed both SF and broccoli, compared to the control diet. A second experiment, using mouse hepatoma Hepa1c1c7 cells, tested whether an interaction exists between selenium (Se) and SF in TR inducibility, since Se is known to induce TR activity. Selenium (2.5 μM) plus SF (2.0 μM) caused significantly greater TR activity than either treatment alone. All treatments with added Se or SF caused significantly greater TR activities than no Se or SF treatment. Glutathione peroxidase activity was elevated by Se, but not by SF. These data suggest that TR, known to be regulated by Se, is also upregulated as part of a host response to the dietary anticarcinogen SF, a trait not shared by another Se-dependent enzyme, GSH-Px.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-179
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003


  • Glutathione peroxidase
  • Selenium
  • Sulforaphane
  • Thioredoxin reductase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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