High doses of antioxidant supplements induce stem cell genetic abnormalities

May 04, 2010

High doses of antioxidant nutritional supplements, such as vitamins C and E, can increase genetic abnormalities in cells, which may predispose supplement-takers to developing cancer, according to a new study from the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.

The study, led by Eduardo Marbán, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, was published online today in the medical journal Stem Cells. The study also will appear in the journal's July printed edition.

Marbán and his team accidentally discovered the danger of excessive antioxidant doses while seeking a way to reduce the that occurred naturally when the scientists sought to multiply human cardiac stem cells.

Marbán stressed that the study's finding applies only to excessive and not to foods that are rich in antioxidants, such as milk, oranges, blueberries and peanuts. In recent years, multiple studies have touted the benefits of foods rich in antioxidants.

"Taking one multivitamin daily is fine, but a lot of people take way too much because they think if a little is good, a lot must be better," said Marbán, who is also the Mark Siegel Family Professor at Cedars-Sinai. "That is just not the case. If you are taking 10 or 100 times the amount in a daily multivitamin, you may be predisposing your cells to developing cancer, therefore doing yourself more harm than good."

In laboratories, stem cells are often grown in a Petri dish culture than is composed of 20 percent oxygen, whereas cells growing inside human tissue are exposed to just 3 to 5 percent oxygen. But Marbán's team of researchers became frustrated because the higher concentration of oxygen in lab-grown stem cells resulted in 9 percent of the cells being rejected because of genetic abnormalities.

"We sought to counter that oxidation problem by adding high doses of antioxidants directly to the cells," Marbán said. "That's when we made the serendipitous discovery that there is a danger zone for the cells exposed to antioxidants to develop genetic abnormalities that predispose to cancer."

Marbán is leading an ongoing, groundbreaking clinical trial in which heart attack patients undergo two minimally-invasive procedures in an effort to repair and re-grow healthy muscle in a heart injured by a heart attack. First, a biopsy of each patient's own heart tissue is used to grow specialized heart stem cells. About a month later, the multiplied are then injected back into the patient's heart via a coronary artery.

The two-step procedure was completed on the first patient in June 2009. The results of the trial are expected in early 2011.

Recently, Marbán received a $5.5 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to continue developing cardiac stem cell therapies.

Explore further: Cell death proteins key to fighting disease

More information: The complete study is available at www3.interscience.wiley.com/jo… rnal/121640180/issue

Provided by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

4 /5 (5 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Heart derived stem cells develop into heart muscle

Apr 23, 2008

Dutch researchers at University Medical Center Utrecht and the Hubrecht Institute have succeeded in growing large numbers of stem cells from adult human hearts into new heart muscle cells. A breakthrough in stem cell research. ...

Stem cells to be injected into the heart

Aug 26, 2005

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center will begin a clinical trial to determine the feasibility of injecting a patient's own stem cells into the heart.

Adult pig stem cells repair heart damage

Nov 14, 2006

U.S. scientists have successfully grown large numbers of stem cells from adult pigs' heart tissue and used the cells to repair heart attack damage.

Stem cells to repair damaged heart muscle

Jun 22, 2007

In the first trial of its kind in the world, 60 patients who have recently suffered a major heart attack will be injected with selected stem cells from their own bone marrow during routine coronary bypass surgery.

Recommended for you

Cell death proteins key to fighting disease

4 hours ago

Melbourne researchers have uncovered key steps involved in programmed cell death, offering new targets for the treatment of diseases including lupus, cancers and neurodegenerative diseases.

Unlocking the secrets of pulmonary hypertension

21 hours ago

A UAlberta team has discovered that a protein that plays a critical role in metabolism, the process by which the cell generates energy from foods, is important for the development of pulmonary hypertension, a deadly disease.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Mauricio
1 / 5 (1) May 04, 2010
Since the USA is so severely corrupted, it would be nice if they can say who pay for the research...

Second, many, many other studies show the benefits of taking high doses of antioxidants. Since the times of Linus Pauling....

This smells more like pharmaceutical companies trying to get sick the remaining of USA that is not obese, depressed, etc....

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.