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Pharm Res. 2009 Jan;26(1):224-31. doi: 10.1007/s11095-008-9734-9. Epub 2008 Oct 8.

Synergistic effect of combination of phenethyl isothiocyanate and sulforaphane or curcumin and sulforaphane in the inhibition of inflammation.

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Graduate Program in Pharmaceutical Science, Department of Pharmaceutics, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, USA.



Accumulating evidence from epidemiologic and clinical studies indicates that chronic inflammatory disorders harbor an increased risk of cancer development. Curcumin (CUR) has been strongly linked to the anti-inflammatory effect. On the other hand, isothiocyanates such as sulforaphane (SFN) and phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) are strong phase-II detoxifying/antioxidant enzymes inducer. Therefore it is interesting to see if combination of these drugs can inhibit inflammation with higher combined efficacies.


We used nitric oxide (NO) assay to assess the synergism of the different combinations of CUR, SFN and PEITC. The inflammatory markers, e.g. iNOS, COX-2, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-1 (IL-1) levels were determined using RT-PCR, Western blot and ELISA assays.


We report that combination of PEITC + SFN or CUR + SFN has a synergistic effect in down-regulating inflammation markers like TNF, IL-1, NO, PGE2. The synergism is probably due to the synergistic induction of phase II/antioxidant enzymes including heme-oxygenase1 (HO-1) and NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO-1).


Our data suggest that CUR + SFN and PEITC + SFN combinations could be more effective than used alone in preventing inflammation and possibly its associated diseases including cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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