2012Jun. 22, 2012
Estudio señala que el consumo de espinacas puede compensar parcialmente los efectos de sustancia cancerígena
Scientists have for the first time traced the actions of a known carcinogen in cooked meat to its complex biological effects on microRNA and cancer stem cells.
The scientists at Oregon State University also found that consumption of spinach can partially offset the damaging effects of the carcinogen. In tests with laboratory animals, it cut the incidence of colon tumors almost in half, from 58 percent to 32 percent.
“Cancer development is a complex, multi-step process, with damaged cells arising through various means. This study showed that alterations of microRNAs affect cancer stem cell markers in colon cancer formation,” said Mansi Parasramka, a postdoctoral scholar with LPI.
Traditionally, cancer was thought to be caused by changes in DNA sequence, or mutations, that allowed for uncontrolled cell growth. That’s still true. However, there’s also increasing interest in the role played by epigenetics, in which such factors as diet, environmental toxins, and lifestyle affect the expression of genes – not just in cancer, but also cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and neurological disorders.
Included in this epigenetic equation is the formation of microRNAs – once thought to be ‘junk DNA’ – which researchers were at a loss to understand. It’s now known that they influence which areas of DNA get expressed or silenced.
There are hundreds of microRNAs, and the OSU scientists monitored 679 in their experiments. When they don’t work right, bad things can happen, including abnormal gene expression leading to cancer.
The findings of the new study should lead to advances in understanding microRNAs, their effects on cancer stem cells, and the regulatory processes disrupted in disease development, the OSU scientists said. This might lead one day to tailored or patient specific therapies for cancer, Dashwood said.
The research was recently reported in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, in work supported by the National Institutes of Health.