Our Research Paper in a Nutshell

Our Research Paper in a Nutshell

Our research paper in a nutshell is a collection of lay summaries of our sceintific publications.

Effect of environmental stress on fat synthesis in cancer cells

Cancer cells are capable of producing higher amounts of fatty acids (building blocks for fats). This high de novo fat production supports their rapid proliferation rates. We published this systematic review article in British Journal of Cancer (DOI: 10.1038/s41416-019-0451-4) in which we extracted previous data on the effects of environmental stress on fatty acid production in cancer cells. Tumor cells often encounter environmentally stressed condition, characterized by lack of oxygen and nutrients. We found that oxygen deficient cancer cells prefer to intake environmental fatty acids. They also reduce consumption of stored fatty acids for energy production. This results in accumulation of fat deposits within the cells. If the supply of environmental fatty acids is limited cancer cells rely on de novo production. However, if the supply of both, oxygen and fatty acids, is limited then the cells switch back to de novo production. Cancer cells convert glucose into lipids but under oxygen deficient condition they rely on other car sources.

Authors
Rimsha Munir
Jan Lisec
Johan Swinnen
Nousheen Zaidi

Effect of oxygen and nutrient deficiency on quantity and types of fats in cancer cells

Cancer cells are capable of producing higher amounts of fatty acids (building blocks for fats). This high de novo fat production supports their rapid proliferation rates. Tumor cells often encounter environmentally stressed condition, characterized by lack of oxygen and nutrients. In our recent publication (DOI: 10.1186/s12885-019-5733-y) we exposed the cancer cells to oxygen and/nutrient deprived condition in laboratory settings. We found that the quantity and types of fats in cancer cells were not affected by oxygen deficiency. However, nutrient deficiency caused decreases in the amounts of stored fats. Also, the type of stored fats was significantly altered. Both of these factors may affect drug-uptake by cancer cells.

Authors
Jan Lisec
Rida Rashid
Rimsha Munir
Nousheen Zaidi

Effect of diet and demographics on quantity of fats in white blood cells

In our 2017 paper (DOI: 10.1016/j.biochi.2017.01.015), we assessed the quantity of stored fats in circulating white blood cells (WBCs). We studied the effect of diet-intake, age, gender and body-weight on these fat deposits. We found that consuming high-fat-high-carbohydrate diet increases the levels of fats within WBCs. Body-weight also affected the fat deposits but the effects were different for different types of fats. The fat accumulation was higher in individuals above the age of 40 years in comparison to the younger participants. Gender on the other hand was not associated with the amount of fats in WBCs. In future, we plan to study the functional significance of these findings for metabolic health.

Authors
Fatima Ameer
Rimsha Munir
Hina Usman
Rida Rashid
Shahida Hasnain
Nousheen Zaidi

Cholesterol levels in blood cancer cells

Mostly, cholesterol is discussed in the context of its blood levels and its association with heart diseases. However, cholesterol is also present in various types of cells. It is stored in the lipid droplets (in esterified form) and is also present in the cell membranes. Without cholesterol, cell membranes will be too fluid, not firm enough, and too permeable to some molecules. In our 2016 paper (DOI: 10.1016/j.cca.2016.03.015), we assessed the quantity of cholesterol in blood cancer cells. We found that the quantity of cholesterol in these cells is significantly decreased. We also found that the cellular (blood cancer cells) cholesterol levels were not linked to plasma cholesterol levels.

Authors
Hina Usman
Fatima Ameer
Rimsha Munir
Areeb Iqbal
Muhammad Zaid
Shahida Hasnain
Lisa Scandiuzzi
Nousheen Zaidi

Blood cholesterol levels in leukemia patients

Previous studies have shown that blood cancer patients display multiple abnormalities in their plasma lipid profiles. However, these studies fail to provide a consistent pattern of lipid anomalies in these patients. These inconsistencies could be due to overlooking the confounding effects of other medical conditions and demographic factors, which may also affect the lipid profiles. In our 2015 paper (DOI: 10.1016/j.cca.2015.01.038), we revisited the plasma lipid profiles of blood cancer patients. We observed that blood cancer patients indeed display significant alterations in their plasma lipid profiles. Age and gender also affected these abnormalities. We conclude that these confounding factors should be taken into consideration while determining the clinical significance of plasma lipid profiles in blood cancer patients.

Authors
Hina Usman
Rida Rashid
Fatima Ameer
Areeb Iqbal
Muhammad Zaid
Shahida Hasnain
Hubert Kalbacher
Nousheen Zaidi

Different types of cancer cells react differently to fat-deficiency

In our 2014 paper (https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0106913), we observed that different types of cancer cells react differently to lipid-deficiency in terms of their proliferation rates. Cancer cells are capable of producing higher amounts of fatty acids (building blocks for fats). This high de novo fat production supports their rapid proliferation rates. We found that only the cancer cells that were capable of further increasing their in-house fat production maintained their proliferation rates under lipid-deficient conditions, while others showed decreased cell proliferation rates.

Authors
Veerle W. Daniels
Karine Smans
Ines Royaux
Melanie Chypre
Johannes V. Swinnen
Nousheen Zaidi

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