Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.
March 13 2019. The March 7, 2019 issue of Cell Stem Cellpublished the finding of a team from the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research that nicotinamide riboside, a form of vitamin B3, can increase the production of hematopoietic stem cells, which are the precursors of various blood cells in the body. These stem cells are now used in the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma, in a process by which cancerous blood stem cells are removed and replaced with healthy cells. However, due to the effects of stress, the ability of new hematopoietic stem cells to divide is slowed, resulting in insufficient hematopoietic stem cell replenishment and death of the patient in some cases.
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To meet the significant demands of rebuilding blood cells, the mitochondria (energy-producing organelles within a cell) of hematopoietic stem cells accelerate a fuel-generating process known as oxidative phosphorylation. This process increases mitochondrial stress and premature aging of the stem cells. Corresponding author Olbia Naveiras and colleagues discovered that exposure of human and mouse hematopoietic stem cells to nicotinamide riboside boosted the process by which stressed mitochondria are recycled to clear the way for new replacements. This improves the ability of the stem cells to divide and produce new blood cells.
In mice that had been exposed to radiation that resulted in a significant reduction of blood cells, the addition of nicotinamide riboside to the diet resulted in an 80% improvement in survival and better blood recovery. In immunodeficient mice, white blood cell production increased as a result of nicotinamide riboside supplementation.
“We expect nicotinamide riboside and other mitochondrial modulators to become a complementary approach for increasing stem cell fitness and accelerating blood production, either through dietary supplementation or pharmacological administration,” Dr. Naveiras predicted.