Methionine-Restricted Diets Slows Onset Of Inflammatory And Autoimmune Disorders Such As Multiple Sclerosis
According to research findings by medical researchers from Van Andel Institute in Michigan, United States, significantly reducing dietary levels of the amino acid methionine
could slow onset and progression of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders
such as multiple sclerosis
in high-risk individuals.
Methionine Rich Food To Avoid To Slow Onset Of Auto-Immmune Diseases
The study findings was published in Cell Metabolism journal.
Though many cell types in the body produce methionine
, the immune cells responsible for responding to threats like pathogens do not. Instead, the methionine
that fuels these specialized cells, called T cells, must be ingested through food consumption. Although methionine
is found in most foods, animal products such as meat and eggs contain particularly high levels.
Dr Russell Jones, Ph.D., the study's senior author and program leader of Van Andel Institute's Metabolic and Nutritional Programming group told Thailand Medical
is critical for a healthy immune system. Our results suggest, for people predisposed to inflammatory and autoimmune disorders
like multiple sclerosis
, reducing methionine
intake can actually dampen the immune cells that cause disease, leading to better outcomes. These findings provide further basis for dietary interventions as future treatments for these disorders."
Typically autoimmune disorders
occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy tissue. For example, in multiple sclerosis
, the most common inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, the myelin sheath that protects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord is targeted by the immune system. The subsequent damage impedes messages traveling to and from the brain, resulting in progressively worsening symptoms like numbness, muscle weakness, coordination and balance problems, and cognitive decline.
Currently, there are no treatments that significantly slow or stop multiple sclerosis
without greatly increasing the risk of infection or cancer.
Dr Catherine Larochelle, M.D., Ph.D., study co-author, and a clinician-scientist in neuroimmunology and neurologist at the Multiple Sclerosis Clinic at the Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal added, “What causes multiple sclerosis
is still not completely understood. We know that genes related to the immune system are implicated but environmental factors also have a role to play. The fact that metabolic factors like obesity increase the risk of developing multiple sclerosis
makes the idea of dietary intervention to calm down the immune system particularly appealing."
It was observed that during an immune response, T cells flood the af
fected area to help the body fend off pathogens. Dr Jones, Dr Larochelle and their teams found dietary methionine
fuels this process by helping "reprogram" T cells to respond to the threat by more quickly replicating and differentiating into specialized subtypes. Some of these reprogrammed T cells cause inflammation, which is a normal part of an immune response but can cause damage if it lingers, such as the nerve damage that occurs in multiple sclerosis
The medical researchers also found that significantly reducing methionine
in the diets of mouse models of multiple sclerosis
altered the reprogramming of T cells, limiting their ability to cause inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. The result was a delay in the disease's onset and slowed progression.
Dr Jones further added, "By restricting methionine
in the diet, you're essentially removing the fuel for this over-active inflammatory response without compromising the rest of the immune system.”
Dr Jones however cautions that the findings must be verified in humans before dietary guidelines can be developed. The research team also plans to investigate whether new medications can be designed that target methionine
The research study is the latest to spotlight methionine
-restricted diets as possible treatments for disease. Another 2019 study from the Locasale Lab at Duke University demonstrated that reducing methionine
could improve the effects of chemotherapy and radiation in fighting cancer.
Reference : Dominic G. Roy et al. Methionine Metabolism Shapes T Helper Cell Responses through Regulation of Epigenetic Reprogramming., Cell Metablolism DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2020.01.006