Dietary supplementation with sulforaphane attenuates liver damage and heme overload in a sickle cell disease murine model.
Exp Hematol. 2019 09 ;77:51-60.e1. Epub 2019 Aug 9. PMID: 31404577
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a recessively inherited blood disorder caused by abnormalβ-globin production. The β-globin mutation changes erythrocyte morphology into a sickle shape and increases erythrocyte vulnerability to hemolysis. Oxidative stress and concomitant inflammation eventually result in damage to multiple organs. Nrf2 is a master regulator of the oxidative stress response, homeostasis, and metabolism. Keap1 modulates Nrf2 protein levels; Nrf2 inducers alter nuclear Nrf2 levels by interacting with Keap1. Genetic modification of Keap1 helps to reduce inflammation and tissue damage in SCD model mice through Nrf2 induction. Here, we investigated the benefits of a mild and safe Nrf2 agonist, sulforaphane (SFN), in ameliorating SCD pathology in a murine model. SFN is a phytochemical and is found in cruciferous vegetables as its inert precursor, glucoraphanin. We found that dietary SFN administration for 14 days or 2 months increased the expression of Nrf2-dependent cytoprotective genes, but SFN uptake did not have deleterious effects on the food consumption and growth of SCD model mice. SFN ameliorated the liver damage of SCD mice, which could be validated by the rescue of liver function and the significantly reduced liver necrotic area. SFN administrationalso helped to eliminate heme released from lysed sickle cells. These results indicate that dietary supplementation with SFN relieves SCD symptoms by inducing Nrf2 and support our contention that SFN is a potential drug for the long-term treatment of children with SCD.