Metabolic Supermice

Forbes reports on interesting research into metabolism and inflammation: "Called aP2, the protein has no useful function in the body. It only appears during the course of disease, and seems to cause adverse effects on blood sugar levels and fatty acid metabolism. It previously has been found in fat cells and macrophages (a type of immune cell) in people with obesity, diabetes and heart disease. ... [researchers have] found aP2 in the lining of the human lung, where it appears to regulate the inflammation associated with asthma. ... To study the effects of aP2, the researchers created genetically engineered mice that could not produce the protein. ... They're metabolic supermice. We cannot make them obese, diabetic or atherosclerotic. They don't develop fatty liver disease, and they don't develop asthma ... pharmaceutical companies have developed aP2-blocking drugs. ... They work very well in animal models and produce the same effects we've seen in genetically engineered mice. But all the work is pre-clinical."



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