Vitamin C and B3 as new biomaterials to alter intestinal stem cells

J Biomed Mater Res A. 2019 Sep;107(9):1886-1897. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.36715. Epub 2019 May 23.


Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and vitamin B3 (niacin) have been extensively studied since the 20th century. In the area of stem cell biology, vitamin C has shown its direct impact toward homeostasis and epigenetic changes (D'Aniello et al., Stem Cells International, 2017, 1-16). Vitamin B3 aids in maintaining healthy intestinal homeostasis and reducing gut inflammation by participating in the rapamycin signaling pathway (Kumar et al., The American Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, 2013). In this study, vitamin C and vitamin B3 (600 and 1,200 μg/mL) have been explored as potential new biomaterials to study their effects on four types of intestinal stem cells which are isolated from mice bearing different microbiota. We observed that C3H ASF and 129 ASF IL-10 are more sensitive towardB7 600 μg/mL vitamin B3 and 1,200 μg/mL vitamin C. The lowest growth rate and viability for all types of organoids was with 1,200 μg/mL vitamin C. From quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis (qPCR analysis), MUC2 was upregulated for 129 ASF and C3H Conv when exposed to 600 μg/mL and 1,200 μg/mL vitamin C. It suggests that large amounts of glycoprotein may be produced after adding high concentrations of vitamin C. Since inflammatory bowel disease has low level of MUC2, this finding may be helpful in restoring mucosal health by upregulating the MUC2 gene while altering patient's microbiota (Sibila et al., Annals of the American Thoracic Society, 2016). These results are expected to have a positive translational impact because this bottom-up strategy would be instrumental in developing Vitamin C and B3 based orally available therapeutic strategies and formula for advancing the fields of gastrointestinal regenerative medicine.

Keywords: MUC2; PIK3CA; intestinal stem cells; organoids; vitamin B3; vitamin C.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mucin-2 / biosynthesis*
  • Niacinamide / pharmacology*
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects*


  • Muc2 protein, mouse
  • Mucin-2
  • Niacinamide
  • Ascorbic Acid