Sulforaphane is a naturally occurring isothiocyanate, which can be found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage. Sulforaphane was found to have very potent inhibitory effects on tumor growth through regulation of diverse mechanisms. However, no data are available concerning the effects of sulforaphane on platelet activation and its relative issues. Activation of platelets caused by arterial thrombosis is relevant to a variety of cardiovascular diseases. Hence, the aim of this study was to examine the in vivo antithrombotic effects of sulforaphane and its possible mechanisms in platelet activation. Sulforaphane (0.125 and 0.25 mg/kg) was effective in reducing the mortality of ADP-induced acute pulmonary thromboembolism in mice. Other in vivo studies also revealed that sulforaphane (0.25 mg/kg) significantly prolonged platelet plug formation in mice. In addition, sulforaphane (15-75 μM) exhibited more-potent activity of inhibiting platelet aggregation stimulated by collagen. Sulforaphane inhibited platelet activation accompanied by inhibiting relative Ca2+ mobilization; phosphorylation of phospholipase C (PLC)γ2, protein kinase C (PKC), mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and Akt; and hydroxyl radical (OH{filled circle}) formation. Sulforaphane markedly increased cyclic (c)AMP, but not cyclic (c)GMP levels, and stimulated vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) phosphorylation. SQ22536, an inhibitor of adenylate cyclase, but not ODQ (1H-[1,2,4]Oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxal in-1-one), an inhibitor of guanylate cyclase, obviously reversed the sulforaphane-mediated effects on platelet aggregation; PKC activation, p38 MAPK, Akt and VASP phosphorylation; and OH{filled circle} formation. Furthermore, a PI3-kinase inhibitor (LY294002) and a p38 MAPK inhibitor (SB203580) both significantly diminished PKC activation and p38 MAPK and Akt phosphorylation; in contrast, a PKC inhibitor (RO318220) did not diminish p38 MAPK or Akt phosphorylation stimulated by collagen. This study demonstrates for the first time that in addition to it originally being considered as an agent for prevention of tumor growth, sulforaphane possesses potent antiplatelet activity which may initially activate adenylate cyclase/cAMP, followed by inhibiting intracellular signals (such as the PI3-kinase/Akt and PLCγ2-PKC-p47 cascades) and ultimately inhibiting platelet activation. Therefore, this novel role of sulforaphane may represent a high therapeutic potential for treatment or prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1086-1095
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • Akt
  • Cyclic AMP
  • MAPK
  • PLCγ2
  • Platelet activation
  • Sulforaphane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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