Epigenetic and antioxidant effects of dietary isothiocyanates and selenium: potential implications for cancer chemoprevention

LN Barrera, A Cassidy, Ian T. Johnson, Y Bao, NJ Belshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There is evidence from epidemiological studies suggesting that increased consumption of cruciferous vegetables may protect against specific cancers more effectively than total fruit and vegetable intake. These beneficial effects are attributed to the glucosinolate breakdown products, isothiocyanates (ITC). Similarly, selenium (Se) consumption has also been inversely associated with cancer risk and as an integral part of many selenoproteins may influence multiple pathways in the development of cancer. This paper will briefly review the current state of knowledge concerning the effect of Se and ITC in cancer development with a particular emphasis on its antioxidant properties, and will also address whether alterations in DNA methylation may be a potential mechanism whereby these dietary constituents protect against the carcinogenic process. Furthermore, we will discuss the advantages of combining ITC and Se to benefit from their complementary mechanisms of action to potentially protect against the alterations leading to neoplasia. Based on this review it may be concluded that an understanding of the impact of ITC and Se on aberrant DNA methylation in relation to factors modulating gene-specific and global methylation patterns, in addition to the effect of these food constituents as modulators of key selenoenzymes, such as gastrointestinal glutathione peroxidase-2 (GPx2) and thioredoxin reductase-1 (TrxR1), may provide insights into the potential synergy among various components of a plant-based diet that may counteract the genetic and epigenetic alterations that initiate and sustain neoplasia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-245
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Nutrition Society
Volume71
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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