The study reveals that vitamin B12 is a key player in cellular reprogramming and tissue regeneration

On the right, cells in the pancreas undergo reprogramming; left, proper pancreatic tissue. Credit: IRB Barcelona

Vitamin B12 is a well-known micronutrient that has long been recognized for its essential role in maintaining nerve function, supporting red blood cell production, and facilitating DNA synthesis, all vital processes for overall health. Researchers led by Dr. Manuel Serrano from IRB Barcelona have now discovered that vitamin B12 also plays a key role in cellular reprogramming and tissue regeneration. The findings were published in the journal Natural metabolism

The research focused on an experimental process known as cellular reprogramming that is thought to mimic the early stages of tissue repair. The IRB team found that cellular reprogramming in mice consumes large amounts of vitamin B12. Indeed, vitamin B12 depletion becomes a limiting factor that delays and impairs some aspects of the reprogramming process.

Considering the abundance of vitamin B12 in the mice’s normal diet, the researchers were surprised to note that simple vitamin B12 supplementation significantly improved the efficiency of reprogramming.

Therapeutic potential in ulcerative colitis

The researchers confirmed their findings in a model of ulcerative colitis, showing that intestinal cells that initiate repair undergo a process similar to cellular reprogramming and also benefit from vitamin B12 supplementation. Patients with bowel disease may benefit from vitamin B12 supplementation.

“Our research reveals the critical role of vitamin B12 in cellular reprogramming and tissue repair.” These findings hold promise for regenerative medicine, with the potential to benefit patients through improved nutrition,” says Dr. Manuel Serrano.

Understanding the role of vitamin B12 in cellular reprogramming

In this study, researchers looked at the metabolic requirements of cellular reprogramming and found that vitamin B12 is a limiting factor for a specific branch of metabolism involved in a reaction known as methylation. Specifically, the DNA of cells that initiate tissue reprogramming or repair require very high levels of this methylation reaction, and therefore vitamin B12.

The researchers found that vitamin B12 deficiency during tissue reprogramming or repair resulted in significant epigenetic changes, leading to errors in the function of multiple genes.

“Supplementation with vitamin B12 corrected this imbalance, resulting in improved fidelity of gene functions and an overall improved efficiency of reprogramming,” confirms Dr. Marta Kovaceva, first author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher in the same laboratory.

A separate study linked vitamin B12 to a reduction in inflammation

The group led by Dr. Serrano recently published another study, in collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Rosa Lamuel-Ravents of the University of Barcelona (UB) and Dr. Ramon Estrucha of the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, ​​in which they concluded that people with higher levels of vitamin B12 had lower levels of inflammatory markers (IL-6 and CRP) in their blood.

The researchers also observed a similar relationship in older mice. These observations suggest that vitamin B12 exerts an anti-inflammatory effect by reducing these markers in the body and provide valuable insight into the potential health benefits of vitamin B12.

More information:
Marta Kovatcheva et al., Vitamin B12 is a Limiting Factor for Induced Cell Plasticity and Tissue Repair, Natural metabolism (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s42255-023-00916-6

Vlchez-Acosta, A. et al, Vitamin B12 emerges as a key player during cellular reprogramming, Natural metabolism (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s42255-023-00917-5.

Provided by the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

Citation: Study Finds Vitamin B12 Key Player in Cellular Reprogramming and Tissue Regeneration (2023, November 16) Retrieved November 16, 2023 from – cellular. html

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