Dr. Weeks’ Comment: Stem cells are not so mysterious; we find them everywhere in all tissues (muscle, ligament, fat, bone) but they are abundant and easily accessible in menstrual blood, umbilical cords and placental tissue. But rather than search far and wide to harvest stem cells, why not make more of your own? eat vitamin C rich foods and make your own. Remember (to paraphrase the give a man a fish story!) if you give a man stem cells he feels better for a while but if you teach a man to amplify his own stem cells, he is healthy for the rest of his life. Pass the oranges and sign me up for high dose vitamin C during my cancer treatments!
Cell Stem Cell. 2010 Jan 8;6(1):71-9. Epub 2009 Dec 31.
Vitamin C enhances the generation of mouse and human induced pluripotent stem cells.
Esteban MA, Wang T, Qin B, Yang J, Qin D, Cai J, Li W, Weng Z, Chen J, Ni S, Chen K, Li Y, Liu X, Xu J, Zhang S, Li F, He W, Labuda K, Song Y, Peterbauer A, Wolbank S, Redl H, Zhong M, Cai D, Zeng L, Pei D.
Stem Cell and Cancer Biology Group, Key Laboratory of Regenerative Biology, South China Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510663, China.
Somatic cells can be reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by defined factors. However, the low efficiency and slow kinetics of the reprogramming process have hampered progress with this technology. Here we report that a natural compound, vitamin C (Vc), enhances iPSC generation from both mouse and human somatic cells. Vc acts at least in part by alleviating cell senescence, a recently identified roadblock for reprogramming. In addition, Vc accelerates gene expression changes and promotes the transition of pre-iPSC colonies to a fully reprogrammed state. Our results therefore highlight a straightforward method for improving the speed and efficiency of iPSC generation and provide additional insights into the mechanistic basis of the reprogramming process.