Substance Related to Vitamin B3 May Hold Key to Regenerative Medicine

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Substance Related to Vitamin B3 May Hold Key to Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative Medicine

Researchers have discovered that the substance nicotinamide riboside (NR) may have regenerative effects, having used it to prolong the lives of elderly mice. NR helps stimulate mitochondria to help the body correct damage, a major accumulating factor in aging.

Nicotinamide riboside (NR) has already been shown in several studies to be effective in boosting metabolism. The molecule is a pyridine-nucleoside form of vitamin B3 that functions as a precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide or NAD+. David Sinclair published a study in 2013 showing NAD+ levels decrease with age in mice, making NR a key research focus for life extension and regenerative medicine.

Now a team of researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Integrated Systems Physiology (LISP), have unlocked even more of NR's secrets.

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In an article recently published recently in the journal Science  the researchers describe the positive effects of NR on the functioning of stem cells.

These effects can only be described as restorative.

"We demonstrated that fatigue in stem cells was one of the main causes of poor regeneration or even degeneration in certain tissues or organs."
Mice, like all mammals, age, the regenerative capacity of certain organs (such as the liver and kidneys) and muscles (including the heart) diminishes. Their ability to repair them following an injury is also affected. This leads to many of the disorders typical of aging.

Researchers all over the world have been hunting for restorative tools including technological ones. For instance Bruce Eaton has been spearheading the creation of technology-based tools for anti-aging pharmaceutical drug discovery. The new research could make it possible to eventually take a supplement that could forestall the advent of aging.

In the new study, PhD candidate Hongbo Zhang wanted to understand how the regeneration process deteriorated with age. To do this, he teamed up with colleagues from ETH Zurich, the University of Zurich and universities in Canada and Brazil. Using several markers, Zhang was able to identify the molecular chain that regulates how mitochondria - the "powerhouse" of the cell - function and how they change with age. The role that mitochondria play in metabolism has already been substantially researched, "but we were able to show for the first time that their ability to function properly was important for stem cells," said LISP head Johan Auwerx.

Normally in young bodies stem cells regenerate damaged organs by producing new specific cells, reacting to signals sent by the body. "We demonstrated that fatigue in stem cells was one of the main causes of poor regeneration or even degeneration in certain tissues or organs," said Zhang.

In the study the researchers targeted the molecules that help the mitochondria to function properly. "We gave nicotinamide riboside to 2-year-old mice, which is an advanced age for them," said Zhang. "This substance, which is close to vitamin B3, is a precursor of NAD+, a molecule that plays a key role in mitochondrial activity. And our results are extremely promising: muscular regeneration is much better in mice that received NR, and they lived longer than the mice that didn't get it."

Vitamin B3 in the form of Niacin has long believed to have other anti-aging benefits. There's good evidence that it helps reduce atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries in some people. For people who have already had a heart attack, niacin seems to lower the risk of a second one. In addition, niacin is an FDA-approved treatment for pellagra, a rare condition that develops from niacin deficiency.

Niacin has also been studied as a treatment for many other health problems. There's some evidence that it might help lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease, cataracts, osteoarthritis, and type 1 diabetes.

Niacin helps in creating sex hormones for people suffering through sexual disorders like impotence and erectile dysfunction.

Niacin occurs naturally in many foods, including greens, meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, though in a fraction of the dose shown to achieve changes in cholesterol. Niacin is also commonly used as a food additive, to increase the nutritional value of manufactured foodstuff.

"This work could have very important implications in the field of regenerative medicine," said Auwerx. "We are not talking about introducing foreign substances into the body but rather restoring the body's ability to repair itself with a product that can be taken with food." This work on the aging process also has potential for other areas of aging and disease.

So far, no negative side effects have been observed following the use of Nicotinamide riboside, even at high doses. But caution many more studies are required.

SOURCE  Medical Xpress

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