Gastric infection with Helicobacter pylori is a cosmopolitan problem, and is especially common in developing regions where there is also a high prevalence of gastric cancer.
These infections are known to cause gastritis and peptic ulcers, and dramatically enhance the risk of gastric cancer.
Eradication of this organism is an important medical goal. However, it is complicated by the development of resistance to conventional antimicrobial agents. Furthermore, there is the persistence of a low-level reservoir of H. pylori within gastric epithelial cells.
Moreover, economic and practical problems preclude widespread and intensive use of antibiotics in most developing regions.
The team conducted laboratory tests, using the chemical sulforaphane, an isothiocyanate abundant as its glucosinolate precursor in certain varieties of broccoli and broccoli sprouts.
The findings were published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
| Sulforaphane is abundant in certain varieties of broccoli and broccoli sprouts.
| Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences |
They discovered that sulforaphane is a potent bacteriostatic agent against 3 reference strains and 45 clinical isolates of H. pylori, irrespective of their resistance to conventional antibiotics.
The minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) for 90% of the strains was found to be ≤ 4 µg/ml.
Further, brief exposure to sulforaphane was bactericidal, and eliminated intracellular H. pylori from a human epithelial cell line (HEp-2).
In complementary experiments, sulforaphane also blocked benzo[a]pyrene-evoked forestomach tumors in mice.
This protection resulted from sulforaphane inducing phase 2 detoxication and antioxidant enzymes.
Jed W. Fahey, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, concluded on behalf of the group, "The dual actions of sulforaphane, in inhibiting Helicobacter infections and blocking gastric tumor formation, offer hope that these mechanisms might function synergistically to provide diet-based protection against gastric cancer in humans."