More than almost any other scientist in the field of obesity and metabolism research, the work of Bruce Spiegelman, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, has informed potential targets for drug discovery that could burn fat and even turn fat into muscle. He was the first to suggest that inflammation underscores insulin resistance, and also the first to find the key regulator of adipogenesis, PPAR-γ.
Brett Monia and Stefano Rivella discuss how reduction of TMPRSS6 expression with antisense oligonucleotides ameliorates iron metabolism disorders in mice. Highlights:
The liver secretes bile acids to aid in the digestion of fats. Cholestasis is a condition in which the bile flow from the liver to the duodenum is impeded. Patients with the disease exhibit itchiness (pruritis) and cannot sense pain (analgesia). The molecular mechanisms mediating these effects are unknown. Carlos Corvera of UCSF and Nigel Bunnett of Monash University discuss their study demonstrating that bile acids cause itch and analgesia by activating the TGR5 receptor in neurons. Highlights:
Increased brain uptake and oxidation of acetate in heavy drinkers Graeme Mason of Yale University discusses how heavy drinking influences metabolism and leads to alternate fuel use in the brain. Highlights:
If you, or someone you know, has Parkinson’s disease, mental health issues, or other neurological disorders, medication can often help. The bulk of these medications have been established based on the work of neuroscientist Paul Greengard from the Rockefeller University, who worked out just how the brain responds to neurotransmitters — the chemicals that help the brain signal. Most of what most neuroscientists know today about neurotransmission, and specifically the dynamics of slow synaptic transmission, is predicated on the work of Dr. Greengard. The interview features stories about his seminal research discoveries and his competitive streak in potato sack races.