Vitamin B12’s role in cellular revitalization and tissue renewal

Vitamin B12 limits cellular plasticity and tissue repair.

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Researchers at IRB Barcelona found that vitamin B12 dramatically enhances the effectiveness of cellular reprogramming, offering hope for advances in regenerative medicine. Additionally, vitamin B12 supplementation demonstrates the potential for accelerating tissue repair in a model of ulcerative colitis, suggesting new possibilities for treating inflammatory diseases. This breakthrough has been reported in the journal Nature Metabolism.

Vitamin B12, recognized for its role in nerve function, red blood cell production, and DNA synthesis, is crucial in cellular reprogramming and tissue regeneration. Researchers led by Dr. Manuel Serrano at IRB Barcelona discovered that a substantial amount of vitamin B12 is consumed during cellular reprogramming in mice. Surprisingly, supplementing vitamin B12 significantly improved the efficiency of the reprogramming process. This breakthrough, published in Nature Metabolism, suggests new insights into the role of vitamin B12 in vital cellular functions.

In treating ulcerative colitis, researchers confirmed the therapeutic potential of vitamin B12. They validated their findings in a colitis model, showing that cells involved in intestinal repair undergo a process similar to cellular reprogramming, and vitamin B12 supplementation enhances this process. This suggests a potential benefit for patients with inflammatory bowel disease through vitamin B12 supplementation.

Dr. Manuel Serrano said, “Our research uncovers a critical role of vitamin B12 in cellular reprogramming and tissue repair. These findings hold promise for regenerative medicine, potentially benefiting patients through improved nutrition.”

In this study, researchers explored the role of vitamin B12 in cellular reprogramming. They investigated the metabolic needs of cellular reprogramming. They identified vitamin B12 as a crucial factor for a specific metabolic pathway involving methylation. Cells initiating reprogramming or tissue repair require high levels of this methylation reaction and, thus, vitamin B12. 

Insufficient vitamin B12 during these processes led to significant epigenetic changes, causing errors in the function of multiple genes. However, supplementing with vitamin B12 corrected this imbalance, improving gene function and enhancing overall reprogramming efficiency, as confirmed by Dr. Marta Kovatcheva, the study’s first author.

In a separate study, Dr. Serrano’s group, in collaboration with Dr. Rosa Lamuela-Raventós and Dr. Ramon Estruch, discovered a link between higher levels of vitamin B12 in blood and lower levels of inflammatory markers (IL-6 and CRP). This relationship was also observed in aged mice, suggesting that vitamin B12 has anti-inflammatory properties by reducing these markers in the body. 

The research involved collaborations with various groups, including Dr. Guido Kroemer in France and Dr. Óscar Yanes in Spain, providing valuable insights into the potential health benefits of vitamin B12. Dr. Manuel Serrano is currently associated with Altos Labs in Cambridge, UK.

Dr. Manuel Serrano and his team’s research uncovers the multifaceted role of vitamin B12 as a micronutrient essential for basic bodily functions and as a critical facilitator in cellular reprogramming and tissue regeneration. The study’s findings open new doors for exploring the therapeutic potential of vitamin B12 in regenerative medicine and offer a comprehensive understanding of its impact on cellular processes and inflammatory responses.

Journal reference:

  1. Kovatcheva, M., Melendez, E., Chondronasiou, D. et al. Vitamin B12 is a limiting factor for induced cellular plasticity and tissue repair. Nature Metabolism. DOI: 10.1038/s42255-023-00916-6.

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