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Vitamin A may help prevent high risk of HPV to cancer

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A team of researchers studied different components of the daily diet to find out their effect on the human papillomavirus (HPV) since many cases of cervical cancer originate from a persistent infection of this virus.

In the study, led by Dr Patricio Gariglio Vidal, attached to the Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology of Cinvestav – Mexico, they managed to identify that a diet rich in vitamin A helps to curb the harmful effects of the infection and reduce the chances of it evolving into cancer.

The research was published by the Journal of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology and reports on the importance of this vitamin in reducing the lesions produced by a high-risk type of HPV. 

To study this, they used transgenic mouse models with the E7 oncogene, which is equivalent to a woman infected with HPV type 16.

They divided them into two groups, one was given a diet with vitamin A and the other was not. They observed that most of the mice, approximately 90% had high-grade preneoplastic lesions or cervical cancer; but none of those with vitamin A tended to cause the condition because their immune system correctly attacked the lesions.

Gariglio Vidal explained that vitamin A enters the body and is metabolized into retinoic acid, which upon reaching the cell nucleus forms a complex with its receptors, and initiates an interaction with many genes responsible for activating mechanisms to stop cell growth or promote the programmed death of cancer cells.

In this way, they managed to identify the importance of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, to contain the development of diseases such as cervical cancer.

Image Credit: Getty

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