Tuesday, May 2, 2017
A team of scientists led by researchers from the National Institutes of Health has identified an enzyme that could help in the continuous battle against mid-life obesity and fitness loss. The discovery in mice could upend current notions about why people gain weight as they age, and could one day lead to more effective weight-loss medications.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
NIH rat study suggests amitriptyline temporarily inhibits the blood-brain barrier, allowing drugs to enter the brain
New research from the National Institutes of Health found that pairing the antidepressant amitriptyline with drugs designed to treat central nervous system diseases, enhances drug delivery to the brain by inhibiting the blood-brain barrier in rats. The blood-brain barrier serves as a natural, protective boundary, preventing most drugs from entering the brain. The research, performed in rats, appeared online April 27 in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Two newly identified mechanisms may lead to better understanding of disease, new treatments.
A team of scientists from the National Institutes of Health has discovered biological mechanisms that appear to prevent damage to the heart muscle’s “power grid,” the network of mitochondrial circuits that provide energy to cells. One of those mechanisms, the researchers found, acts much like a circuit breaker, allowing energy to continue moving throughout the heart muscle cells even when individual components of those cells—the mitochondria—have been damaged.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Protein complexes identified that control infection and reactivation.
Herpes simplex virus (HSV) infections last a lifetime. Once a person has been infected, the virus can remain dormant (latent) for years before periodically reactivating to cause recurrent disease. This poorly understood cycle has frustrated scientists for years. Now, National Institutes of Health scientists have identified a set of protein complexes that are recruited to viral genes and stimulate both initial infection and reactivation from latency. Environmental stresses known to regulate these proteins also induce reactivation.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Analysis of daily gene activation in a patient with severe Ebola virus disease cared for at the National Institutes of Health in 2015 found changes in antiviral and immune response genes that pinpointed key transition points in the response to infection. The changes included a marked decline in antiviral responses that correlated with clearance of virus from white blood cells. The analysis also showed that the preponderance of host responses shifted rapidly from activation of genes involved in cell damage and inflammation toward those linked to promotion of cellular and organ repair. This pivot came before the first signs of clinical improvement in the patient, who was admitted to the NIH Clinical Center on day 7 of illness and remained at the hospital for 26 days. Researchers from the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) led the study.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Finding in zebrafish may contribute to understanding cognitive decline of aging.
National Institutes of Health researchers studying zebrafish have determined that a population of cells that protect the brain against diseases and harmful substances are not immune cells, as had previously been thought, but instead likely arise from the lining of the circulatory system.
Monday, April 3, 2017
Research teams from the National Institutes of Health and abroad have identified the first inhibitor of an enzyme long thought to be a potential drug target for fighting disease-causing parasites and bacteria. The teams, led by NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and University of Tokyo scientists, sorted through more than 1 trillion small protein fragments called cyclic peptides to uncover two that could shut down the enzyme. The finding, reported April 3, 2017 in Nature Communications, could set the stage for the potential development of new types of antimicrobial drugs.
Friday, March 31, 2017
Study will evaluate NIH’s experimental DNA vaccine.
Vaccinations have begun in a multi-site Phase 2/2b clinical trial testing an experimental DNA vaccine designed to protect against disease caused by Zika infection. The vaccine was developed by government scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIAID is leading the trial, which aims to enroll at least 2,490 healthy participants in areas of confirmed or potential active mosquito-transmitted Zika infection, including the continental United States and Puerto Rico, Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, Panama and Mexico. The two-part trial, called VRC 705, further evaluates the vaccine’s safety and ability to stimulate an immune response in participants, and assesses the optimal dose for administration. It also will attempt to determine if the vaccine can effectively prevent disease caused by Zika infection.
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Silencing a gene called Nrl in mice prevents the loss of cells from degenerative diseases of the retina, according to a new study. The findings could lead to novel therapies for preventing vision loss from human diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa. The study was conducted by researchers at the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and was published online today in Nature Communications.
Monday, March 13, 2017
Findings highlight the importance of genomic studies in diverse populations.
An international team of researchers has conducted the first study of its kind to look at the genomic underpinnings of obesity in continental Africans and African-Americans. They discovered that approximately 1 percent of West Africans, African-Americans and others of African ancestry carry a genomic variant that increases their risk of obesity, a finding that provides insight into why obesity clusters in families. Researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and their African collaborators published their findings March 13, 2017, in the journal Obesity.