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Natural Compound in Broccoli May Combat Skin Disease

Sulforaphane reduced blistering in mice model of epidermolysis bullosa simplex

TUESDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Sulforaphane, a natural compound found in broccoli, dramatically reduced skin blistering in a mouse model of the rare genetic disease epidermolysis bullosa simplex, according to a report published online Aug. 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Individuals with epidermolysis bullosa simplex have defective keratin, the protein that gives the skin its tensile strength, leaving their skin susceptible to blistering. Pierre Coulombe, Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues applied a topical solution containing sulforaphane to the skin of newborn mice with a severe form of epidermolysis bullosa simplex caused by a deficiency of keratin 14.

Mice treated with sulforaphane had a dramatic reduction in the amount of blistering. After four days, 85 percent of the treated mice were alive, with only minimal skin blistering. Untreated mice had extensive blistering and 93 percent had died by day three. Treated mice had higher levels of keratin 17 in the epidermis, suggesting the sulforphane induced the expression of this alternative keratin.

"It turns out that treatment with low doses of sulforaphane triggers the expression of selected keratin genes in skin," explained Coulombe in a statement.

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