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Cruciferous vegetable supplementation in a controlled diet study alters the serum peptidome in a GSTM1-genotype dependent manner

Heather Ann Brauer12, Tanya E Libby2, Breeana L Mitchell12, Lin Li2, Chu Chen234, Timothy W Randolph2, Yutaka Y Yasui5, Johanna W Lampe24 and Paul D Lampe12*

Author Affiliations

1 Molecular and Cellular Biology Program, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA

2 Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA 98109, USA

3 Department of Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA

4 Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA

5 Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2G3, Canada

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Nutrition Journal 2011, 10:11  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-11

Published: 27 January 2011



Cruciferous vegetable intake is inversely associated with the risk of several cancers. Isothiocyanates (ITC) are hypothesized to be the major bioactive constituents contributing to these cancer-preventive effects. The polymorphic glutathione-S-transferase (GST) gene family encodes several enzymes which catalyze ITC degradation in vivo.


We utilized high throughput proteomics methods to examine how human serum peptides (the "peptidome") change in response to cruciferous vegetable feeding in individuals of different GSTM1 genotypes. In two randomized, crossover, controlled feeding studies (EAT and 2EAT) participants consumed a fruit- and vegetable-free basal diet and the basal diet supplemented with cruciferous vegetables. Serum samples collected at the end of the feeding period were fractionated and matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry spectra were obtained. Peak identification/alignment computer algorithms and mixed effects models were used to analyze the data.


After analysis of spectra from EAT participants, 24 distinct peaks showed statistically significant differences associated with cruciferous vegetable intake. Twenty of these peaks were driven by their GSTM1 genotype (i.e., GSTM1+ or GSTM1- null). When data from EAT and 2EAT participants were compared by joint processing of spectra to align a common set, 6 peaks showed consistent changes in both studies in a genotype-dependent manner. The peaks at 6700 m/z and 9565 m/z were identified as an isoform of transthyretin (TTR) and a fragment of zinc α2-glycoprotein (ZAG), respectively.


Cruciferous vegetable intake in GSTM1+ individuals led to changes in circulating levels of several peptides/proteins, including TTR and a fragment of ZAG. TTR is a known marker of nutritional status and ZAG is an adipokine that plays a role in lipid mobilization. The results of this study present evidence that the GSTM1-genotype modulates the physiological response to cruciferous vegetable intake.