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J Med Food. 2012 Sep;15(9):795-801. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2012.0016.

Metabolic effects of sulforaphane oral treatment in streptozotocin-diabetic rats.

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Department of Biochemistry, Basic Health Sciences Institute, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil.


Diabetes has reached epidemic levels in the whole world, and the use of bioactive compounds that may have the capacity to prevent and treat diabetes is of great interest. Sulforaphane (SFN) is a compound which is found in cruciferous vegetables and that acts as both a potent antioxidant and regulator of gene expression. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of SFN in diabetes induced by streptozotocin (STZ). Male Wistar rats were gavaged with water or 0.1, 0.25, or 0.5 mg/kg of SFN before an injection of STZ (80 mg/kg). Animals treated with SFN showed fasting glycemia, insulin sensitivity, and hepatic glycogen concentrations, similar to the control group (nondiabetic), and different from the diabetic group. Diabetic animals also presented elevated levels of serum triacylglycerols (TAG), urea, and creatinine, and all SFN doses were able to reverse these alterations. However, the same doses of SFN accentuated alterations in total cholesterol, alanine, and aspartate aminotransferase levels, and had no effect on hepatic TAG, HDL cholesterol, and uptake of 2-deoxy glucose in adipose tissue and soleum muscle. Based on the effects inferred by the present data, SFN presented some positive effects against diabetes induction, although the impairment of hepatic function and cholesterol levels were aggravated after treatment with the compound.

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