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J Nutr. 2016 Feb;146(2):444S-449S. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.202481. Epub 2016 Jan 13.

Garlic Influences Gene Expression In Vivo and In Vitro.

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USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Beltsville, MD.
USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Beltsville, MD


There is a large body of preclinical research aimed at understanding the roles of garlic and garlic-derived preparations in the promotion of human health. Most of this research has targeted the possible functions of garlic in maintaining cardiovascular health and in preventing and treating cancer. A wide range of outcome variables has been used to investigate the bioactivity of garlic, ranging from direct measures of health status such as cholesterol concentrations, blood pressure, and changes in tumor size and number, to molecular and biochemical measures such as mRNA gene expression, protein concentration, enzyme activity, and histone acetylation status. Determination of how garlic influences mRNA gene expression has proven to be a valuable approach to elucidating the mechanisms of garlic bioactivity. Preclinical studies investigating the health benefits of garlic far outnumber human studies and have made frequent use of mRNA gene expression measurement. There is an immediate need to understand mRNA gene expression in humans as well. Although safety and ethical constraints limit the types of available human tissue, peripheral whole blood is readily accessible, and measuring mRNA gene expression in whole blood may provide a unique window to understanding how garlic intake affects human health.


S-allylcysteine; allyl methyl sulfide; cancer; cardiovascular disease; diallyl disulfide; diallyl trisulfide; garlic

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