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Brain Circ. 2019 Apr-Jun;5(2):74-83. doi: 10.4103/bc.bc_7_19. Epub 2019 Jun 27.

The neuroprotective mechanisms and effects of sulforaphane.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA.
John D. Dingell VA Medical Center, Detroit, MI, USA.


Sulforaphane (SFN) is a phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables. It has been shown to have many protective effects against many diseases, including multiple types of cancer. SFN is a potent activator of the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) antioxidant response element (ARE) genetic pathway. Upregulation of Nrf2-ARE increases the availability of multiple antioxidants. A substantial amount of preclinical research regarding the ability of SFN to protect the nervous system from many diseases and toxins has been done, but only a few small human trials have been completed. Preclinical data suggest that SFN protects the nervous system through multiple mechanisms and may help reduce the risk of many diseases and reduce the burden of symptoms in existing conditions. This review focuses on the literature regarding the protective effects of SFN on the nervous system. A discussion of neuroprotective mechanisms is followed by a discussion of the protective effects elicited by SFN administration in a multitude of neurological diseases and toxin exposures. SFN is a promising neuroprotective phytochemical which needs further human trials to evaluate its efficacy in preventing and decreasing the burden of many neurological diseases.


Antioxidant; autism spectrum disorder; broccoli sprouts; epilepsy; isothiocyanate; neurodegenerative disease; nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2; phytochemical; schizophrenia

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