Glucose Restriction in Cell Cultures

One method of researching potential mechanisms of calorie restriction is to restrict glucose intake of cells in culture. Here that is shown to inhibit precancerous cells: "Cancer cells metabolize glucose at elevated rates and have a higher sensitivity to glucose reduction. However, the precise molecular mechanisms leading to different responses to glucose restriction between normal and cancer cells are not fully understood. We analyzed normal WI-38 and immortalized WI-38/S fetal lung fibroblasts and found that glucose restriction resulted in growth inhibition and apoptosis in WI-38/S cells, whereas it induced lifespan extension in WI-38 cells. Moreover, in WI-38/S cells glucose restriction decreased expression of hTERT (human telomerase reverse transcriptase) and increased expression of [cancer suppressing gene] p16(INK4a). Opposite effects were found in the gene expression of hTERT and p16 in WI-38 cells in response to glucose restriction. ... Furthermore, glucose restriction resulted in altered hTERT and p16 expression in response to epigenetic regulators in WI-38 rather than WI-38/S cells, suggesting that energy stress-induced differential epigenetic regulation may lead to different cellular fates in normal and precancerous cells. Collectively, these results provide new insights into the epigenetic mechanisms of a nutrient control strategy that may contribute to cancer therapy as well as antiaging approaches." You might recall other studies showing the practice of calorie restriction to reduce cancer risk.

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20019239

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