Metadichol, a Natural Ligand for the Expression of Yamanaka Reprogramming Factors in Human Cardiac, Fibroblast, and Cancer Cell Lines

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Palayakotai R Raghavan


The reprogramming of somatic cells into embryonic-like stem cells requires the activation of four essential transcription factors, referred to as the Yamanaka factors: Sox2, Oct4, Klf4, and c-Myc. However, the utilization of these genes and viral vectors for their delivery presents a risk of carcinogenesis, which renders induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines unsuitable for clinical applications. Typically, direct reprogramming involves the use of viral vectors to induce the expression of these factors. In contrast, metadichol, a novel approach, enhances the expression of Yamanaka factors in cells using a dose ranging from 1 pg to 100 ng, thereby preventing the need for viral vectors. This non-viral method renders cellular reprogramming safer and more clinically viable. Treatment with metadichol within the specific dose range resulted in a substantial augmentation of the fibroblast expression of OCT4, SOX2, KLF4, KLF2, and Nanog, which was confirmed through qRT-PCR and western blot analyses. The expression levels of OCT4, KLF4, Nanog, and Sox2, exhibited an increase of 4.01-, 3.51-, 1.26-, and 2.5-fold, respectively, compared to the controls. Notably, A549 and Colo-205 cancer cells demonstrated a marked elevation in expression levels. The reprogramming of primary human cancer cells presents considerable challenges. However, in triple-negative primary breast cancer cells, metadichol treatment led to the substantial upregulation of the expression levels of OCT4, KLF4, Nanog, and Sox2 by 19.6-, 8.07-, 2.45-, and 6.91-fold, respectively, across the dose range of 1 pg to 100 ng. Klotho, an antiaging gene that is modulated by metadichol, down regulates TP53, a crucial factor for the production of somatic cell iPSCs. Additionally, metadichol enhances the availability of vitamin C, which is essential for generating iPSCs from somatic cells. Increased levels of alkaline phosphatase, indicative of cellular differentiation, were observed in the treated group compared to the controls. Metadichol is a nontoxic nanoemulsion that is derived from long-chain C26–C28 alcohols from food sources and activates Yamanaka factors across various cell types without requiring the use of viral or CRISPR-based methodologies, thus substantially advancing somatic cell reprogramming.

Keywords: Metadichol, Yamanaka Factors, Cellular Reprogramming, Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs), Non-Viral Reprogramming, Fibroblast Differentiation, Cancer Cell Lines, OCT4, Sox2, KLF4

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RAGHAVAN, Palayakotai R. Metadichol, a Natural Ligand for the Expression of Yamanaka Reprogramming Factors in Human Cardiac, Fibroblast, and Cancer Cell Lines. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 6, july 2024. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 22 july 2024. doi:
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