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Compound derived from vegetables shields rodents from lethal radiation doses

Date:
October 14, 2013
Source:
Georgetown University Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers say a compound derived from cruciferous vegetable such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli protected rats and mice from lethal doses of radiation. Their study suggests the compound, already shown to be safe for humans, may protect normal tissues during radiation therapy for cancer treatment and prevent or mitigate sickness caused by radiation exposure.

Georgetown University Medical Center researchers say a compound derived from cruciferous vegetable such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli protected rats and mice from lethal doses of radiation.

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Their study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) suggests the compound, already shown to be safe for humans, may protect normal tissues during radiation therapy for cancer treatment and prevent or mitigate sickness caused by radiation exposure.

The compound, known as DIM (3,3'-diindolylmethane), previously has been found to have cancer preventive properties.

"DIM has been studied as a cancer prevention agent for years, but this is the first indication that DIM can also act as a radiation protector," says the study's corresponding author, Eliot Rosen, MD, PhD, of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

For the study, the researchers irradiated rats with lethal doses of gamma ray radiation. The animals were then treated with a daily injection of DIM for two weeks, starting 10 minutes after the radiation exposure.

The result was stunning, says Rosen, a professor of oncology, biochemistry and cell & molecular biology, and radiation medicine. "All of the untreated rats died, but well over half of the DIM-treated animals remained alive 30 days after the radiation exposure."

Rosen adds that DIM also provided protection whether the first injection was administered 24 hours before or up to 24 hours after radiation exposure.

"We also showed that DIM protects the survival of lethally irradiated mice," Rosen says. In addition, irradiated mice treated with DIM had less reduction in red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets -- side effects often seen in patients undergoing radiation treatment for cancer.

Rosen says this study points to two potential uses of the compound. "DIM could protect normal tissues in patients receiving radiation therapy for cancer, but could also protect individuals from the lethal consequences of a nuclear disaster."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgetown University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. Fan, Q. Meng, J. Xu, Y. Jiao, L. Zhao, X. Zhang, F. H. Sarkar, M. L. Brown, A. Dritschilo, E. M. Rosen. DIM (3,3'-diindolylmethane) confers protection against ionizing radiation by a unique mechanism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1308206110

Cite This Page:

Georgetown University Medical Center. "Compound derived from vegetables shields rodents from lethal radiation doses." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131014155741.htm>.
Georgetown University Medical Center. (2013, October 14). Compound derived from vegetables shields rodents from lethal radiation doses. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131014155741.htm
Georgetown University Medical Center. "Compound derived from vegetables shields rodents from lethal radiation doses." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131014155741.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

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