Researchers are decoding the body's own cancer protection of the naked mole
Naked mole rats have their own cancer protection. US scientists from the Institute of Biology at the University of Rochester and the Havard School of Public Health, together with Israeli and Chinese researchers, have now found out how the naked mole grows build up their unusual resistance to cancer. They hope to be able to use the mechanism for the treatment of cancer in the future.
In the journal Nature, the team led by Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov from Rochester University reported that they had succeeded in deciphering the mechanism that protects naked women from cancer. "We found that barnacle fibroblasts secrete a lot of extremely high molecular weight hyaluronic acid (HA)," the researchers write. This has the consequence that the so-called contact inhibition, which slows further cell growth when the cells come into contact with the neighboring cells, starts much earlier in the nude mole. This avoids uncontrolled cell growth.
Naked grinders with unusual physical properties Naked grinders are an extremely interesting research object for science because they have a multitude of special features. Naked moles with a maximum lifespan of more than 30 years show an extraordinary longevity, especially in view of their small body mass. "In comparison, a similarly sized house mouse has a maximum lifespan of four years," write the US researchers. Naked garbage can also do without sunlight, for which they have developed a special mechanism of vitamin D formation. In addition, the rodents apparently lack any sense of pain.
Naked grinders never get cancer For the research team led by Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov, the cancer resistance of rodents observed in previous studies was of particular interest in the context of their current studies. In "Multi-year observations of large naked mole rat colonies, there was not a single occurrence of cancer," the researchers write. The way in which naked garbage prevents uncontrolled cell growth and thus the formation of tumors has so far remained unclear. In order to clarify this, the scientists set up cell cultures of naked garbage fibroblasts (naked garbage connective tissue cells) in the laboratory and observed their development. They found that the consistency of the cell cultures was significantly different from that of other rodents. The cell cultures of the nude mulch connective tissue cells were stickier and more viscous than those of mice and also those of humans, the scientists report.
Uncontrolled cell growth in nude gullet prevented at an early stage According to the researchers, the reason for the tougher consistency of the cell cultures from nude gullet fibroblasts was a significantly higher proportion of hyaluronic acid, which also had a molecular weight that was more than five times that of humans and mice. "This high molecular mass of HA accumulates abundantly in nude gauze tissue due to the reduced activity of HA-degrading enzymes and a unique sequence of hyaluronan synthase 2," report Gorbunova and Seluanov. Hyaluronic acid plays an essential role in the contact inhibition already mentioned. Here it was shown that the naked gullet cells were also far more sensitive to "the HA signaling because they had a higher affinity compared to the mouse or human cells," the US researchers continued. In other words, further cell growth was prevented much earlier.
Hyaluronic acid protects naked garbage from cancer In further experiments, the scientists checked whether cancer protection of the naked garbage is related to hyaluronic acid by reducing its concentration in the cell cultures and then observing how the malignant cell transformations developed. In fact, they found that without protecting the increased HA concentration, the nude gauze connective tissue cells also showed malignant changes. So it seems clear that the cancer protection of the naked mole is due to the high hyaluronic acid concentration. However, why the rodents have such a high proportion of hyaluronic acid in the connective tissue has so far been unclear. "We speculate that the nude moles have developed a higher concentration of HA in the skin to provide the skin's elasticity needed for life in underground tunnels," the researchers explain. As a side effect, this property then brought with it the cancer resistance and longevity of this kind.
New approach to cancer therapy If the findings of the research team led by Vera Gorbunova and Andrei Seluanov are confirmed in further investigations, hyaluronic acid could possibly make a significant contribution to cancer therapy or prevention in the future. Another advantage would be that hyaluronic acid is already used for medical purposes is used and is therefore relatively well researched. So far, HA has mainly been used in the treatment of arthrosis, whereby the active ingredient is injected directly into the joint as a kind of buffer. Hyaluronic acid is also contained in some eye drops and nasal sprays. However, the researchers have perhaps only now discovered the most promising effects of hyaluronic acid. (fp)