In a recent study published in Stem Cell Reports, researchers found that nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3, can inhibit aggressive cell transformations during wound healing and may be key to the development of therapies to treat fibrotic eye diseases that impair vision.
The findings apply to a condition in which cells in the retinal pigment epithelium, a layer that supports the retina, transform and develop the characteristics of more aggressive cells known as mesenchymal cells.
The condition can be triggered by aging, diabetes, or injury to the eye.
This causes the development of fibrous membranes that resemble damaging cells found in retinal scar tissue and can lead to retinal detachment.
The research is from Mount Sinai. One author is Timothy Blenkinsop, Ph.D.
In the study, the team found that nicotinamide not only inhibits these 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.
When applying nicotinamide as a therapy to human adult cells in vitro, the researchers 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.
The findings showed how nicotinamide can inhibit invasive wound healing, but also reverse the development of membranes associated with scar tissue.
This discovery helps evolve the understanding of wound healing, as well as good inflammation versus bad inflammation.
Good inflammation essentially nudges the system into a regenerative response, while bad inflammation can create harmful scar tissue formation.
The team says 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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