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This is an interesting rodent study. The problem is, however, broccoli sprouts are not usually advisable for women that are pregnant because they can be a source of foodborne illness. If proven safe, however, it seems (at the surface) plausible that there could be ways to reduce the risk of in the future. Perhaps through supplementation?


Methods: Pregnant Long-Evans rats were administered i.p. Injections of saline (100 μl) or lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 200 μg/kg), every 12 h on embryonic day (E) 19 and 20. In the treatment groups, dams were supplemented with 200 mg/day of dried BrSp from E14 until postnatal day 21. Pups underwent a series of neurodevelopmental reflex tests from postnatal day 3–21 followed by neuropathological analyses.

Note: LPS elicits a strong immune response.

Results: Pups born from the LPS group were significantly growth restricted (p < 0.001) and delayed in hindlimb placing (p < 0.05), cliff avoidance (p < 0.05), and gait (p < 0.001) compared to controls. […] Dietary supplementation with [broccoli sprouts] to offspring exposed to LPS had increased birth weights (p < 0.001), were no longer delayed in acquiring hindlimb placing, cliff avoidance, gait, and posture, and groomed less compared to LPS alone pups (p < 0.01). Histological analyses revealed that LPS pups had reduced myelin basic protein compared to controls.

The discussion had some interesting things to say about why mitigating the fetal inflammatory response is a big deal:

An important recognized antepartum risk factor is the systemic fetal inflammatory response (FIR) [3], which is associated with a four-fold increase in the risk of developing [cerebral palsy]. Both clinical and experimental studies have provided strong evidence supporting the association between FIR and brain injury leading to [cerebral palsy].

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