Dietary fat, gut microbes, and inflammation

R. CAESAR ET AL./CELL METABOLISM The type of fat a mouse consumes can affect the animal’s gut microbiome and in turn spur inflammation in fat tissue, a team led by investigators at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden has found. The team’s results were published in Cell Metabolism this week (August 27).

“We know that fat itself can act as inflammatory inducers in certain immune cells, we can’t ignore that fact,” said Vanessa Leone, a postdoc studying host-microbe interactions at the University of Chicago who was not involved in the study. “It’s just that diet-induce microbes also play a role, and they together work to increase that inflammation even higher and make it even worse.”

“It will be important to confirm these findings in humans using long-term dietary interventions wherein food intake is carefully controlled,” Peter Turnbaugh, a professor of microbiology and immunology...

Organelle transplants

WIKIMEDIA, LOUISA HOWARDSome damaged cells get by with a little mitochondria from their friends. The process, called intercellular mitochondrial transfer, has been well-documented over the last 10 years. But why—and how—do damaged cells acquire these donor organelles?

“The basic mechanisms are not really clear,” said Jahar Bhattacharya, who studies cellular physiology at Columbia University. Xiang Wang of the University of Bergen in Norway agreed: “At this point we don’t know how this is happening.”

Researchers who spoke with The Scientist emphasized that understanding the mechanisms will be key for moving certain proposed mitochondrial replacement-based therapies forward.


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