Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Natural Chemical Found In Broccoli Helps Combat Skin Blistering Disease

Date:
August 21, 2007
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
Scientists have found that sulforaphane, a chemical present at high levels in a precursor form in broccoli and related veggies (cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc.), helps prevent the severe blistering and skin breakage brought on by the rare and potentially fatal genetic disease epidermolysis bullosa simplex.

Johns Hopkins scientists have found yet another reason why you should listen to your mother when she tells you to eat your vegetables. Sulforaphane, a chemical present at high levels in a precursor form in broccoli and related veggies (cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc.), helps prevent the severe blistering and skin breakage brought on by the rare and potentially fatal genetic disease epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS).

Related Articles


The researchers treated newborn mice with a severe form of EBS--so bad they all died within three days--with a topical solution containing sulforaphane and found marked improvement; after four days more than 85 percent of the treated mice were alive and blister-free. These findings appear online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The basis of EBS, notes study author Pierre Coulombe, Ph.D., professor of biological chemistry, lies in two specific genes that make proteins known as keratins. Normally, the keratins join together and form highly resilient fibers in the lower portion of skin, helping make it durable. If either keratin is defective, they don't mesh and the lower skin tissue becomes unusually fragile and gets damaged from the mildest mechanical stress -- leading to blistering pain, a higher risk of infection, and in the most severe cases, death.

"Humans have around 54 distinct keratins, many of which are similar in structure and function," says Coulombe. "We figured we might be able to exploit this similarity and dial up a replacement by triggering the activation of a suitable signaling pathway in skin." He predicted that sulforaphane might stimulate the formation of a surrogate skin-strengthening keratin to stand in for the defective one.

The desire to learn more about sulforaphane led Coulombe and his co-workers to Paul Talalay, M.D., professor of pharmacology who had previously identified sulforaphane as a cancer-preventive agent. "It turns out that treatment with low doses of sulforaphane triggers the expression of selected keratin genes in skin," says Coulombe. "So we began what evolved into a highly rewarding collaboration and found it does indeed work in a mouse model for EBS."

"This is the first suggestion that we may be able to treat this terrible disease," adds Talalay, a co-author of this study. "And we didn't need to invent a new drug; sulforaphane is naturally found in our diet."

The team will next test whether sulforaphane can stimulate the proper keratin protein in the appropriate subset of human skin cells -- a vital matter for any future medical hopes. Beyond that are issues of how effective a topical application would be on human skin, which is considerably thicker than mouse skin, as well as examining the long term effects of sulforaphane treatment.

"If we can clear these important hurdles, then sulforaphane can potentially be a tremendous therapeutic, with the added benefit of having anticancer properties," Coulombe says. "And when you consider that the only current option for EBS is wrapping gauze around trauma-prone areas to minimize breakage, and otherwise avoiding infection and making sure blisters heal properly, then even a mild success would be a significant benefit for these patients."

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the March of Dimes Birth Defect Research Foundation, the American Institute for Cancer Research, and the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Foundation.

Authors on the paper are Michelle L. Kerns, Daryle DePianto, Albena T. Dinkova-Kostova, Talalay and Coulombe, all of Hopkins.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Natural Chemical Found In Broccoli Helps Combat Skin Blistering Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070820175429.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (2007, August 21). Natural Chemical Found In Broccoli Helps Combat Skin Blistering Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070820175429.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Natural Chemical Found In Broccoli Helps Combat Skin Blistering Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070820175429.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Our Love Of Puppy Dog Eyes Explained By Science

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers found a spike in oxytocin occurs in both humans and dogs when they gaze into each other&apos;s eyes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Scientists Find Link Between Gestational Diabetes And Autism

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Researchers who analyzed data from over 300,000 kids and their mothers say they&apos;ve found a link between gestational diabetes and autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

Video Messages Help Reassure Dementia Patients

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Family members are prerecording messages as part of a unique pilot program at the Hebrew Home in New York. The videos are trying to help victims of Alzheimer&apos;s disease and other forms of dementia break through the morning fog of forgetfulness. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boy or Girl? Intersex Awareness Is on the Rise

Boy or Girl? Intersex Awareness Is on the Rise

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) At least 1 in 5,000 U.S. babies are born each year with intersex conditions _ ambiguous genitals because of genetic glitches or hormone problems. Secrecy and surgery are common. But some doctors and activists are trying to change things. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins