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Front. Cell Dev. Biol. | doi: 10.3389/fcell.2019.00128

Reprogramming the epigenome with vitamin C

 Luisa Cimmino1, 2*, Taylor Lee Chong2 and Emily Ahearn2
  • 1University of Miami Health System, United States
  • 2Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, United States

The erasure of epigenetic modifications across the genome of somatic cells is an essential requirement during their reprogramming into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Vitamin C plays a pivotal role in remodeling the epigenome by enhancing the activity of Jumonji-C domain-containing histone demethylases (JHDMs) and the Ten-eleven translocation proteins (TETs). By maintaining differentiation plasticity in culture, vitamin C also improves the quality of tissue specific stem cells derived from iPSCs that are highly sought after for use in regenerative medicine. The ability of vitamin C to potentiate the activity of histone and DNA demethylating enzymes also has clinical application in the treatment of cancer. Vitamin C deficiency has been widely reported in cancer patients and has recently been shown to accelerate cancer progression in disease models. Therapies involving high-dose vitamin C administration are currently gaining traction in the treatment of epigenetic dysregulation, by targeting aberrant histone and DNA methylation patterns associated with cancer progression.

Keywords: vitamin C, Stem Cell Reprogramming, TET, Jumonji C, Cancer

Received: 17 Apr 2019; Accepted: 02 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Chiara Mozzetta, Department of Biology and Biotechnology Charles Darwin, Faculty of Mathematical, Physical and Natural Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

Reviewed by:

Olga Guryanova, University of Florida, United States
Bruno Di Stefano, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Cimmino, Lee Chong and Ahearn. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: PhD. Luisa Cimmino, University of Miami Health System, Miami, Florida, United States, luisa.cimmino@med.miami.edu