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Drug Metabol Drug Interact. 2000;17(1-4):81-107.

Allyl sulfides modify cell growth.

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Nutrition Department, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA.


Extensive evidence points to the ability of allyl sulfides from garlic to suppress tumor proliferation both in vitro and in vivo. This antineoplastic effect is generally greater for lipid-soluble than water-soluble allyl sulfides. Both concentration and duration of exposure can increase the antiproliferative effects of lipid- and water-soluble allyl sulfides. Part of their antiproliferative effects may relate to an increase in membrane fluidity and a suppression of integrin glycoprotein IIb-IIIa mediated adhesion. Alterations in cholesterol, arachidonic acid, phospholipids and/or thiols may account for these changes in membrane function. Allyl sulfides are also recognized for their ability to suppress cellular proliferation by blocking cells in the G2/M phase and by the induction of apoptosis. This increase in the G2/M and apoptotic cell populations correlates with depressed p34cdc2 kinase activity, increased histone acetylation, increased intracellular calcium and elevated cellular peroxide production. While impressive pre-clinical data exist about the antineoplastic effects of allyl sulfur compounds, considerably more attention needs to be given to their effects in humans. The composition of the entire diet and a host of genetic/epigenetic factors will likely determine the true benefits that might arise from allyl sulfur compounds from garlic and other Allium foods.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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