Increased seizure susceptibility and other toxicity symptoms following acute sulforaphane treatment in mice
Activation of Nrf2 with sulforaphane has recently gained attention as a new therapeutic approach in the treatment of many diseases, including epilepsy. As a plant-derived compound, sulforaphane is considered to be safe and well-tolerated. It is widely consumed, also by patients suffering from seizure and taking antiepileptic drugs, but no toxicity profile of sulforaphane exists. Since many natural remedies and dietary supplements may increase seizure risk and potentially interact with antiepileptic drugs, the aim of our study was to investigate the acute effects of sulforaphane on seizure thresholds and activity of some first- and second-generation antiepileptic drugs in mice. In addition, some preliminary toxicity profile of sulforaphane in mice after intraperitoneal injection was evaluated. The LD50 value of sulforaphane in mice was estimated at 212.67 mg/kg, while the TD50 value – at 191.58 mg/kg. In seizure tests, sulforaphane at the highest dose tested (200 mg/kg) significantly decreased the thresholds for the onset of the first myoclonic twitch and generalized clonic seizure in the iv PTZ test as well as the threshold for the 6 Hz-induced psychomotor seizure. At doses of 10–200 mg/kg, sulforaphane did not affect the threshold for the iv PTZ-induced forelimb tonus or the threshold for maximal electroshock-induced hindlimb tonus. Interestingly, sulforaphane (at 100 mg/kg) potentiated the anticonvulsant efficacy of carbamazepine in the maximal electroshock seizure test. This interaction could have been pharmacokinetic in nature, as sulforaphane increased concentrations of carbamazepine in both serum and brain tissue. The toxicity study showed that high doses of sulforaphane produced marked sedation (at 150–300 mg/kg), hypothermia (at 150–300 mg/kg), impairment of motor coordination (at 200–300 mg/kg), decrease in skeletal muscle strength (at 250–300 mg/kg), and deaths (at 200–300 mg/kg). Moreover, blood analysis showed leucopenia in mice injected with sulforaphane at 200 mg/kg. In conclusion, since sulforaphane was proconvulsant at a toxic dose, the safety profile and the risk-to-benefit ratio of sulforaphane usage in epileptic patients should be further evaluated.