JSS AHER scientists discover Vitamin D mimicking molecule

JSS AHER scientists discover Vitamin D mimicking molecule

May 22, 2023

Has a significant beneficial effect on breast cancer-induced liver inflammation and fibrosis

Mysore/Mysuru: A study conducted by scientists from the Department of Biochemistry, Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology and Regenerative Medicine at JSS Medical College and JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research (JSS AHER) in Mysuru has demonstrated the therapeutic potential of Quercetin, a dietary flavonoid abundant in apples, grapes, berries, onions, tea and red wine.

The study revealed that Quercetin, acting as a mimic of vitamin D, exerts a significant beneficial effect on breast cancer-induced liver inflammation and fibrosis. The findings were recently published in the prestigious journal Frontiers in Nutrition, published by the Frontiers Group.

Led by Dr. Prasanna K. Santhekadur, Associate Professor at the Department of Biochemistry, JSS Medical College, the study involved collaboration with Ph.D students G.S. Nirmala, D.S. Varsha                                         and D.P. Lakshana.

Additionally, Dr. M.V.V.S.T. Subba Rao, Professor at the Department of Biochemistry, JSS Medical College, Dr. Shashanka Prasad, Assistant Professor at JSS School of Life Sciences, Dr. T.S. Ashwini, Professor at JSS Dental College and Dr. M.V. Ravi Shankar, Assistant Professor at the Department of Anatomy, JSS Medical College, along with Siva Dallavalasa, G.B. Chaithanya and Smitha S. Bhat from JSS AHER, were part of the research team.

Significance of the study

The study holds significance due to the changing lifestyles influenced by globalisation and urbanisation. With the adoption of unhealthy dietary habits, increased consumption of highly processed foods and a shift towards a sedentary lifestyle, there has been a decline in the consumption of traditional Indian foods and a rise in Western dietary habits.

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 This, coupled with factors such as reduced sunlight exposure and inadequate Vitamin D intake, has led to a widespread deficiency of Vitamin D, with an estimated 1 billion people worldwide, including 490 million in India, being affected.

Low Vitamin D levels have been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. However, the study highlights that the consumption of Vitamin D or Vitamin D-mimicking compounds like Quercetin, along with proper sleeping habits, may help prevent the occurrence, growth and progression of breast cancer, especially in susceptible individuals.

Liver inflammation and fibrosis are common in breast cancer patients and have a significant impact on overall survival. The study elucidates a novel mechanism in which the dietary flavonoid Quercetin inhibits key characteristics of breast cancer, including cell proliferation and tumour angiogenesis, while also protecting the liver from cancer-induced inflammation and fibrosis.

This protective effect is achieved through the activation of the Vitamin D Receptor (VDR), similar to the action of Vitamin D itself.

The research work received financial support from the Department of Science and Technology through the ‘Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence’ (PURSE) scheme, as well as partial support from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Karnataka Science and Technology Academy.


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