Volume 11 Issue 6, June 2005
News & Views
Neutralizing antibodies take a swipe at HIV in vivo
Developing an effective AIDS vaccine may hinge on understanding how to elicit antibodies that recognize and disable the HIV virus—but first, experiments in people must show that such antibodies are even useful in controlling infection. Information from a recent human trial provides hope that controlling the virus by neutralizing antibodies might be possible. And another study examines why the antibodies are so difficult to elicit (pages 615–622).
Validating Stat3 in cancer therapy
The transcription factor STAT3 is overactive in many tumors and has attracted attention as a drug target. But in vivo evidence suggesting that inhibiting STAT3 could counteract cancer has been incomplete. The picture in the whole animal now begins to clarify, and it bodes well for this approach (pages 623–629).
Fish oil fix
Fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties, but for years the mechanism has remained obscure. That mechanism now begins to come to light—and aspirin may feed into the system by promoting the production of lipid mediators derived from the oil.
Less stress, longer life
The theory that oxidative stress limits lifespan and causes age-related disease rests on experiments in invertebrates and correlative evidence from studies in mammals. This theory now gains a strong experimental basis in mammals.
A low-carb diet for a high-octane pathogen
Mycobacterium tuberculosis adapts to the low-glucose conditions in its host by using lipids as a fuel source. This adaptation reveals a weak flank that might be exploited in drug development, as shown in work on mice and human cells (pages 638–644).
A fork in the pathway to inflammation and arthritis
Neutrophils persist in the joints of individuals with inflammatory arthritis, where they contribute to disease. The molecular basis of this persistence is now shown to hinge on the forkhead transcription factor Foxo3a. Foxo3a suppresses expression of Fas ligand, preventing neutrophil apoptosis (pages 666–671).
Gateway to the metabolic syndrome
A high-fat diet can lead to insulin resistance and the development of the metabolic syndrome, a condition associated with diabetes, heart disease and other ailments. A G-protein-coupled receptor on the surface of insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas senses lipids and may promote the metabolic syndrome under high-fat conditions.