Scientists at the Ludwig Cancer Research Institute (Switzerland) have identified a mechanism by which the internal environment of a tumor blocks T-lymphocytes that form an anti-tumor immune response. In addition, nicotinamide riboside has proven to be a possible anti-inhibition agent of immune cells. This is reported in an article published in the journal Nature Immunology.
Researchers have shown that various stressors found in the microenvironment of the neoplasm disrupt the functioning of mitochondria (organelles that produce energy for cellular processes) inside T-lymphocytes. This puts the immune cells in a state known as terminal depletion. However, the widely available nutritional supplement nicotinamide riboside (NR) helps T lymphocytes to overcome mitochondrial dysfunction by supporting their ability to fight tumor cells.
T-lymphocytes have a high affinity for antigens that are expressed by cancer cells, that is, they must vigorously attack tumors. However, this is often not the case due to the fact that tumors have a means of defense against the immune response. Identifying the mechanisms of this defense should help scientists develop effective treatments.
In this case, the cause of T-lymphocyte dysfunction is the inability of cells to remove damaged mitochondria. As a result, immune cells begin to produce more protein PD-1, which is a control immune point, that is, it prevents T-lymphocytes from fighting against neoplasms.