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Open Access Research article

Dietary phenethylisothiocyanate attenuates bowel inflammation in mice

Moul Dey13*, Peter Kuhn2, David Ribnicky3, VummidiGiridhar Premkumar35, Kenneth Reuhl4 and Ilya Raskin3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Nutrition, Food Science and Hospitality, South Dakota State University, Box 2275A, Brookings, SD 57007, USA

2 Phytomedics Inc., 1085 Cranbury South River Road, Jamesburg, NJ 08831, USA

3 Rutgers University, Biotechnology Center, 59 Dudley Road, New Brunswick NJ 08901, USA

4 Rutgers University, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA

5 Department of Cancer and Cell Biology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45219, USA

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BMC Chemical Biology 2010, 10:4  doi:10.1186/1472-6769-10-4

Published: 27 April 2010



Phenethylisothiocyanate (PEITC) is produced by Brassica food plants. PEO is a PEITC Essential Oil containing >95% natural PEITC. PEITC is known to produce various health benefits but its effect in alleviation of ulcerative colitis signs is unknown.


In two efficacy studies (acute and chronic) oral administration of PEO was effective at remitting acute and chronic signs of ulcerative colitis (UC) in mice. Disease activity, histology and biochemical characteristics were measured in the treated animals and were compared with appropriate controls. PEO treatment significantly improved body weights and stool consistency as well as decreased intestinal bleeding. PEO treatment also reduced mucosal inflammation, depletion of goblet cells and infiltration of inflammatory cells. Attenuation of proinflammatory interleukin1β production was observed in the colons of PEO-treated animals. Expression analyses were also carried out for immune function related genes, transcription factors and cytokines in lipopolysaccharide-activated mouse macrophage cells. PEO likely affects an intricate network of immune signaling genes including a novel concentration dependent reduction of total cellular Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 1 (STAT1) as well as nuclear phosphorylated-STAT1 (activated form of STAT1). A PEO-concentration dependent decrease of mRNA of C-X-C motif ligand 10 (a STAT1 responsive chemokine) and Interleukin 6 were also observed.


PEO might be a promising candidate to develop as a treatment for ulcerative colitis patients. The disease attenuation by PEO is likely associated with suppression of activation of STAT1 transcription and inhibition of pro-inflammatory cytokines.