Nav: Home

UCLA study could explain link between high-cholesterol diet and colon cancer

January 25, 2018

New UCLA research could help explain the link between a high-cholesterol diet and an elevated risk for colon cancer.

In a study of mice, scientists from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA discovered that boosting the animals' cholesterol levels spurred intestinal stem cells to divide more quickly, enabling tumors to form 100 times faster. Published online in Cell Stem Cell, the study identifies a molecular pathway that could serve as a new drug target for colon cancer treatment.

"We were excited to find that cholesterol influences the growth of stem cells in the intestines, which in turn accelerates the rate of tumor formation by more than 100-fold," said Dr. Peter Tontonoz, the medical school's Frances and Albert Piansky Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. "While the connection between dietary cholesterol and colon cancer is well established, no one has previously explained the mechanism behind it."

The scientists increased cholesterol in the intestinal stem cells in some of the mice by introducing more of the substance into their diets. In others, the researchers altered a gene that regulates phospholipids, the primary type of fat in cell membranes, which spurred the cells into producing more cholesterol on their own.

The stem cells' ability to multiply increased in both groups.

As the animals' cholesterol levels rose, their cells divided more rapidly, causing the tissue lining their guts to expand and their intestines to lengthen. These changes significantly sped up the rate of tumor formation in their colons.

The UCLA team will explore whether the molecular pathway they discovered plays a similar role in accelerating the growth of other cancers.
-end-
The three-year study was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Tontonoz's coauthors were first author Bo Wang, Xin Rong, Elisa Palladino, Dr. Alan Fogelman and Dr. Martin Martin, all of UCLA; Waddah Alrefai of the University of Illinois at Chicago; and David Ford of St. Louis University.

University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences

Related Stem Cells Articles:

A protein that stem cells require could be a target in killing breast cancer cells
Researchers have identified a protein that must be present in order for mammary stem cells to perform their normal functions.
Approaching a decades-old goal: Making blood stem cells from patients' own cells
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have, for the first time, generated blood-forming stem cells in the lab using pluripotent stem cells, which can make virtually every cell type in the body.
New research finds novel method for generating airway cells from stem cells
Researchers have developed a new approach for growing and studying cells they hope one day will lead to curing lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis through 'personalized medicine.'
Mature heart muscle cells created in the laboratory from stem cells
Generating mature and viable heart muscle cells from human or other animal stem cells has proven difficult for biologists.
Mutations in bone cells can drive leukemia in neighboring stem cells
DNA mutations in bone cells that support blood development can drive leukemia formation in nearby blood stem cells.
Scientists take aging cardiac stem cells out of semiretirement to improve stem cell therapy
With age, the chromosomes of our cardiac stem cells compress as they move into a state of safe, semiretirement.
Purest yet liver-like cells generated from induced pluripotent stem cells
A team of researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina and elsewhere has found a better way to purify liver cells made from induced pluripotent stem cells.
Stem cell scientists discover genetic switch to increase supply of stem cells from cord blood
International stem cell scientists, co-led in Canada by Dr. John Dick and in the Netherlands by Dr.
Stem cells from diabetic patients coaxed to become insulin-secreting cells
Signaling a potential new approach to treating diabetes, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St.

Related Stem Cells Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Setbacks
Failure can feel lonely and final. But can we learn from failure, even reframe it, to feel more like a temporary setback? This hour, TED speakers on changing a crushing defeat into a stepping stone. Guests include entrepreneur Leticia Gasca, psychology professor Alison Ledgerwood, astronomer Phil Plait, former professional athlete Charly Haversat, and UPS training manager Jon Bowers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".