Phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) is an isothiocyanate found in watercress as the glucosinolate (gluconasturtiin). The isothiocyanate is converted from the glucosinolate by intestinal microflora or when contacted with myrosinase during the chopping and mastication of the vegetable. PEITC manifested protection against chemically-induced cancers in various tissues. A potential mechanism of chemoprevention is by modulating the metabolism of carcinogens so as to promote deactivation. The principal objective of this study was to investigate in rats the effect of PEITC on carcinogen-metabolising enzyme systems such as sulfotransferase (SULT), N-acetyltransferase (NAT), glucuronosyl transferase (UDP), and epoxide hydrolase (EH) following exposure to low doses that simulate human dietary intake. Rats were fed for 2 weeks diets supplemented with PEITC at 0.06 µmol/g (low dose, i.e., dietary intake), 0.6 µmol/g (medium dose), and 6.0 µmol/g (high dose), and the enzymes were monitored in rat liver. At the Low dose, no induction of the SULT, NAT, and EH was noted, whereas UDP level was elevated. At the Medium dose, only SULT level was increased, whereas at the High dose marked increase in EH level was observed. It is concluded that PEITC modulates carcinogen-metabolising enzyme systems at doses reflecting human intake thus elucidating the mechanism of its chemoprevention.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.