Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 10, pp 10080–10089 | Cite as

Assessment of sulforaphane-induced protective mechanisms against cadmium toxicity in human mesenchymal stem cells

  • Nouf Abdulkareem Omer Alkharashi
  • Vaiyapuri Subbarayan Periasamy
  • Jegan Athinarayanan
  • Ali A. AlshatwiEmail author
Research Article


Cd is a hazardous substance and carcinogen that is present in the environment; it is known to cause toxic effects in living organisms. Sulforaphane is a naturally available phytochemical with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic properties. However, the effects of sulforaphane on Cd toxicity in human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are unknown. In the present study, we investigated the molecular mechanisms of the effects of sulforaphane on Cd toxicity in hMSCs by using MTT assays, acridine orange/ethidium bromide staining, Hoechst staining, LysoRed staining, assessment of mitochondrial membrane potential, and gene expression analysis. Cd decreased hMSC viability in a dose-dependent manner with an IC50 value of 56.5 μM. However, sulforaphane did not induce any significant reduction in cell viability. Nuclear morphological analysis revealed that Cd induced necrotic cell death. Additionally, Cd caused mitochondrial membrane potential loss in hMSCs. The treatment of Cd-exposed cells with sulforaphane (Cd-sulforaphane co-treatment) resulted in a significant recovery of the cell viability and nuclear morphological changes compared with that of cells treated with Cd only. The gene expression pattern of cells co-treated with Cd-sulforaphane was markedly different from that of Cd-treated cells, owing to the reduction in Cd toxicity. Our results clearly indicated that sulforaphane reduced Cd-induced toxic effects in hMSCs. Overall, the results of our study suggested that sulforaphane-rich vegetables and fruits can help to improve human health through amelioration of the molecular effects of Cd poisoning.


Sulforaphane Cadmium Human mesenchymal stem cell Cell viability 


Funding information

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by the Research Center, Deanship of Scientific Research, College of Food and Agriculture Science, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nouf Abdulkareem Omer Alkharashi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vaiyapuri Subbarayan Periasamy
    • 1
  • Jegan Athinarayanan
    • 1
  • Ali A. Alshatwi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Nanobiotechnology and Molecular Biology Research Laboratory, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, College of Food and Agriculture ScienceKing Saud UniversityRiyadhKingdom of Saudi Arabia
  2. 2.Department of Home EconomicsPrince Sattam bin Abdulaziz UniversityAl-KharjSaudi Arabia

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