Effect of organosulfur compounds from garlic and cruciferous vegetables on drug metabolism enzymes

T. J. Smith, C. S. Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The frequent consumption of cruciferous vegetables and garlic is associated with several health benefits. These foods contain organosulfur compounds that are known to affect the biotransformation of xenobiotics, and therefore can influence the toxicity and carcinogenicity of environmental chemicals. In this article, we review the effects of isothiocyanates and diallyl sulfide on xenobiotic metabolism and the enzymes involved in the process. Isothiocyanates and diallyl sulfide can modulate the levels of phase I and phase II drug-metabolizing enzymes by affectingthe transcriptional rates of their genes, the turnover rates of specific mRNAs or enzymes, or the enzyme activity. These compounds are not general enzyme inhibitors or inducers. They elicit selectivity in their mode of action. Elucidating the mechanisms involved in the alteration of drug-metabolizing enzymes by isothiocyanates and diallyl sulfide will increase our understanding of their possible effects on the biotransformation of drugs as well as the potential beneficial or detrimental effects of these organosulfur compounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-49
Number of pages27
JournalDrug Metabolism and Drug Interactions
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Pharmacology (medical)


  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Cytochrome P450
  • Detoxification enzymes
  • Diallyl sulfide
  • Garlic
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Organosulfur compounds

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