Fasting improves stem cells’ regenerative capacity: Study
New Delhi: The US biologists have found that 24-hour fasting can reverse the age-related loss of intestinal stem cell function that can regenerate new intestinal cells. The study, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, revealed that fasting dramatically improves stem cells’ regenerative capacity, in both aged and young mice, Xinhua reported.
In the study published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, the researchers found that they could also boost regeneration with a molecule that activates the same metabolic switch. Such an intervention could potentially help older people recovering from gastrointestinal infections or cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, the researchers said.
Researchers, including those from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, found that fasting improves stem cells’ ability to regenerate, in both aged and young mice.
“Fasting has many effects in the intestine, which include boosting regeneration as well as potential uses in any type of ailment that impinges on the intestine, such as infections or cancers,” said Omer Yilmaz, an assistant professor of biology in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and one of the senior authors of the study.
Improving tissue homeostasis
Intestinal stem cells are responsible for maintaining the lining of the intestine, which typically renews itself every five days. When an injury or infection occurs, stem cells are key to repairing any damage. However as people age, the regenerative abilities of these intestinal stem cells decline, so it takes longer for the intestine to recover.
The researchers found that if they turned off this pathway, fasting could no longer boost regeneration and they could reproduce the beneficial effects of fasting by treating mice with a molecule that mimics the effects of PPARs.
The findings suggest that drug treatment could stimulate regeneration without requiring patients to fast, which is difficult for most people.