Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Advertise with Us
RANDOX LABORATORIES

Prolonged Fasting Promotes Immune System Regeneration

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 17 Jun 2014
Print article
Image: Schematic flow chart of the effects of prolonged fasting on the immune system (Photo courtesy of USC).
Image: Schematic flow chart of the effects of prolonged fasting on the immune system (Photo courtesy of USC).
A new study suggest that prolonged cycles of fasting trigger stem-cell based regeneration of immune cells and the clearing out of old, damaged cells.

Researchers at the University of Southern California (USC; Los Angeles, USA), the University of Palermo (Italy), and other institutions have succeeded in demonstrating in a mouse model that fasting for 2–4 days at a time reduces circulating insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels and protein kinase A (PKA) activity in various cell populations, leading to signal transduction changes in long-term hematopoietic stem cells (LT-HSCs) and niche cells that promote stress resistance, self-renewal, and lineage-balanced regeneration.

The researchers also found that multiple cycles of fasting abated the immunosuppression and mortality caused by chemotherapy and reversed age-dependent myeloid-bias, supporting previous data on the protection of lymphocytes from chemotoxicity in fasting. The pro-regenerative effects of fasting on stem cells were reinforced by deficiency in either IGF-1 or PKA, and blunted by exogenous IGF-1. Prolonged fasting also protected against toxicity in a pilot clinical trial in which a small group of human patients fasted for a 72-hour period prior to chemotherapy. The study was published on June 5, 2014, in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

“Switching off the gene for PKA is the key step that triggers the stem cells to shift to regeneration; it gives the OK for stem cells to go ahead and begin proliferating and rebuild the entire system,” said corresponding author Prof. Valter Longo, PhD, director of the USC Longevity Institute. “The good news is that the body also rids itself of the parts of the system that might be damaged or old, the inefficient parts, during the fasting. If you start with a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or aging, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system.”

According to the authors, the study has major implications for healthier aging, in which immune system decline contributes to increased susceptibility to disease as we age. By outlining how prolonged fasting cycles kill older and damaged immune cells and generate new ones, the research also has implications for chemotherapy tolerance and for those with a wide range of immune system deficiencies, including autoimmunity disorders.

Related Links:

University of Southern California
University of Palermo



Print article

Channels

Drug Discovery

view channel
Image: A scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (Photo courtesy of the CDC).

Drug Combination Cures MRSA Infection While Preventing Development of Resistance

Treatment with a combination comprising the well-known antibiotic cefdinir and the experimental drug TXA709 cured mice of drug-resistant staphylococcal infections while reducing the development of resistance.... Read more

Biochemistry

view channel
Image: A space-filling model of the anticonvulsant drug carbamazepine (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

Wastewater May Contaminate Crops with Potentially Dangerous Pharmaceuticals

Reclaimed wastewater used to irrigate crops is contaminated with pharmaceutical residues that can be detected in the urine of those who consumed such produce. Investigators at the Hebrew University... Read more

Lab Technologies

view channel
Image: A three-dimensional printer adapted for stem cell production (Photo courtesy of Nano Dimension).

Israeli Developers Demonstrate Prototype Three-Dimensional Bioprinter

Two Israeli companies have combined efforts in the development of three-dimensional printer technology for the production of stem cells. The three-dimensional print electronics developer Nano Dimension... Read more

Business

view channel

Acquisition to Boost Development of Drugs for Neurogenic Conditions

According to a recent announcement, a privately held biotechnology/drug development company is to be acquired by one of the major pharmaceutical manufacturers. The drug manufacturer Merck & Co. (Kenilworth, NJ, USA) has agreed to pay 500 million USD up front for Afferent Pharmaceuticals (San Mateo, CA, USA) and up... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2016 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.