In a recent study published in Stem Cell Reports, scientists found that nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3, can inhibit aggressive cell transformations during wound healing.
It may be key to the development of therapies to treat fibrotic eye diseases that impair vision.
The diseases can be triggered by aging, diabetes, or injury to the eye.
The study is done by a team at Mount Sinai. One author is Timothy Blenkinsop, Ph.D.
In the study, the team found that nicotinamide not only inhibits cell transformations but can also reverse that cell transition and slow down the development of eye diseases that may lead to vision loss or blindness.
They applied nicotinamide as a therapy to human adult cells and found that the vitamin B derivative slowed down the aggressive cellular transformation and could promote the opposite transition, from mesenchymal to epithelial, helping to preserve the cell’s original identity.
This discovery helps evolve the understanding of wound healing, as well as good inflammation versus bad inflammation.
The team says good inflammation essentially nudges the system into a regenerative response, while bad inflammation can create harmful scar tissue formation.
This is an exciting time to understand how this compound can be used to treat and reverse not only fibrotic diseases of the retina but other diseases too.
Nicotinamide therapy resulted in widespread changes in the DNA sequence of the cells, eliciting changes in more than 40,000 identified chromosomal regions.
The scientists found that nicotinamide was linked to a massive reorganization of the cell patterns, especially with inducing enhancer elements that lead the cell stage change in the retina.
It activated regulatory elements in cells, including transcriptional factors that are prominent regulators of cell transformation.
The researchers say the study paves the way to develop new forms of treatment for patients.
It provides an opportunity to explore a pathway for new therapeutic approaches for any condition or complication associated with wound healing.
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