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Biol Trace Elem Res. 2013 Mar;151(3):384-99. doi: 10.1007/s12011-012-9567-6. Epub 2012 Dec 29.

Feeding of selenium alone or in combination with glucoraphanin differentially affects intestinal and hepatic antioxidant and phase II enzymes in growing rats.

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  • 1Institute of Agricultural and Nutritional Sciences, Preventive Nutrition Group, Martin Luther University Halle Wittenberg, Von Danckelmann Platz 2, 06120, Halle (Saale), Germany.


The anti-carcinogenic effects of sulforaphane (SFN) are based on the up-regulation of antioxidant enzymes (AE) and phase II enzymes (PIIE) through the transcription factor Nrf2. Current knowledge on the roles of the SFN precursor glucoraphanin (GRA) on these processes is limited. Anti-carcinogenic effects of Se depending on glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity have also been reported. We studied effects and possible synergisms of Se and GRA on the expression and activity of a broad spectrum of AE and PIIE in jejunum, colon and the liver of rats fed diets differing in Se and GRA concentration. In all organs, GPx1 mRNA expression was 70 % to 90 % lower in Se deficiency than in Se sufficiency. GPx2 expression increased in jejunum and liver under Se deficiency and decreased in the colon. Se deficiency increased most colonic AE and PIIE compared to Se adequacy. Adequate and in particular supranutritive Se combined with GRA increased colonic AE and PIIE expression up to 3.72-fold. In the liver Se deficiency raised the expression of AE and PIIE up to 4.49-fold. GRA attenuated liver AE and PIIE response in Se deficiency. Expression- and correlation analyses revealed that Keap1 mRNA better reflects AE and PIIE gene expression than Nrf2 mRNA. We conclude that: (1) GPx1 sensitively indicates Se deficiency; (2) the influence of Se and Nrf2/Keap1 on GPx2 expression depends on the organ; (3) GRA combined with supranutritive Se may effectively protect against inflammation and colon cancer; (4) future investigations on AE and PIIE expression should consider the role of Keap1 to a higher extent.

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