BEIJING, April 9 (Xinhua) -- It is known that eating too much salt is not good for your health. However, in the case of cancer, a Chinese study has revealed that a high-salt diet can activate some immune cells, blocking tumor growth in mice.
Researchers from Nanjing University, University of Macau and Wannan Medical College fed mice with melanoma, a type of skin cancer, and mice with breast cancer with normal-salt diet (NSD) or high-salt diet (HSD) for 16 days.
According to the research published on Nature Communications, the HSD-treated mice of both tumor models showed a lower tumor weight and size than the NSD-treated mice.
They analyzed the mechanism behind the inhibited tumor growth. They found that HSD decreased the accumulation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in the blood, spleen and tumor, which makes MDSCs differentiated into immunostimulatory cells rather than immunosuppressive ones, restored immune surveillance and eventually reduced tumor growth.
The researchers said that their study suggested that HSD may enhance immunotherapy, but whether HSD impacts the general health of animals still needs to be studied.