Journal: Cell Stem Cell
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An unhealthy Spred
© Kay Chernush/Photolibrary/Getty
A high-fat diet leads to dysfunction in a master regulatory protein that keeps stem cells working to form new blood.
The protein, known as Spred1, normally prevents the aberrant self-renewal of blood-forming stem cells in the bone marrow. Under normal conditions, Spred1 is not essential for the cells to strike the right balance between replenishment and differentiation. Using mice fed a lard-based diet, the Kanazawa University–led team demonstrated that only under a lifestyle-associated stress, such as consuming a high-fat diet, is Spred1 critical to maintaining the precise regulation of stem cell function.
Without a working copy of Spred1, excessive stem cell proliferation took place, which led to severe anaemia and a form of blood cancer. They thus suggest that drugs designed to boost Spred1 function could help treat leukaemia and other diseases caused by dysregulated blood-forming stem cells.
- Cell Stem Cell 22, 713–725 (2018). doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2018.04.002