Researchers Discover Link Between Vitamin A Metabolism and Harmful Gut Inflammation

Researchers Discover Link Between Vitamin A Metabolism and Harmful Gut Inflammation
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio, have discovered a link between uncontrolled vitamin A metabolism and damaging inflammation in the gut. The discovery adds key details regarding the relationship between diet and inflammatory diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and could help doctors target nutritional strategies for patients. Vitamin A metabolism starts with beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is the red-orange pigment nutrient in plants and fruits that gives certain foods their characteristic color, such as carrots and pumpkins. Beta-carotene, also known as provitamin A, is transformed into vitamin A in the small intestine. Vitamin A is then mostly transported to other tissues to support many functions, such as healthy vision. However, part of the vitamin A stays in the gut. Here, this nutrient is used to produce a growth factor, or hormone, for immune cells. This hormone triggers immune cells to proliferate and makes them active, causing inflammation in the gut when too much vitamin A is present. In the study, “Transcription factor ISX mediates the cross talk between diet and immunity,” published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers described an important branching point in the metabolic pathway for vitamin A. This branching point hinges on a single protein called ISX. By studying mice genetically modified to lack ISX, the team found that this protein helps the body maintain a balanced process between beta-carotene and gut inflammation. “Vitamin A exists in the diet as beta-carotene, which is enzymatically converted by cells lining the intes
Subscribe or to access all post and page content.