London: A new research has revealed that diets rich in nicotinamide riboside, a derivative of vitamin B3, prevent the development of liver tumors and induce tumor regression in mice.
Researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) have produced the first mouse model that faithfully reproduces the steps of human hepato-cellular carcinoma (HCC) development, from the appearance of the first lesions in the liver to the development of metastasis.
The results indicate that diets rich in nicotinamide riboside protect these mice from developing HCC in its most initial stage, when genotoxic stress is damaging cellular DNA and they also show a curative effect of the diet in those mice that had previously developed the disease.
One obstacle to the study of human HCC is the absence of mouse models that replicate the disease, which could be used to investigate molecular pathways or new therapies.
Given that human HCC is associated to alterations in hepatocytes survival, and that the URI oncogene plays a role in this process, the researchers genetically engineered mice that contained high levels of URI only in the liver, in a controlled manner over time.
The leader of the study Nabil Djouder said that an increase in URI reduces cellular NAD+ and as a consequence produces genotoxic stress and DNA damage, but it is still not totally clear, however, why the deficit in NAD+ causes these lesions.
The study is published in the prestigious journal Cancer Cell.