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Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Jul;46(7):2415-21. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2008.03.022. Epub 2008 Apr 1.

Antigenotoxic properties of Eruca sativa (rocket plant), erucin and erysolin in human hepatoma (HepG2) cells towards benzo(a)pyrene and their mode of action.

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University Medical Center Freiburg, Institute of Environmental Medicine and Hospital Hygiene, Breisacher Strasse 115b, 79106 Freiburg, Germany.


In recent years, rocket plant (Eruca sativa) has gained greater importance as a vegetable and spice, especially among Europeans. E. sativa is a member of the Brassicaceae, which is considered to be an important chemopreventive plant family. In the present study, we assessed the chemopreventive potency and underlying mechanisms of extracts of E. sativa in HepG2 cells. No genotoxic effect could be observed in HepG2 cells treated with up to 50 microl/ml plant juice for 24 h when using the comet assay. In antigenotoxicity experiments, E. sativa extract reduced the benzo(a)pyrene-induced genotoxicity in a U-shaped manner. This effect was accompanied by a significant induction of glutathione S-transferase. No significant suppression of B(a)P-induced CYP1A1 protein expression or enzyme activity could be observed. Chemical analysis of the plant material by gas chromatography identified the isothiocyanates erucin, sulforaphane, erysolin and phenylethyl isothiocyanate. Results derived with the single ITC compounds support the assumption that their synergistic interaction is responsible for the strong antigenotoxicity of the plant material. The present study provided an assessment of the bioactive effects of rocket plant extract in a human cell culture system. This could help to evaluate the balance between beneficial vs. possible adverse effects of rocket plant consumption.

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