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expert reaction to study looking at immune cells and fat metabolism in ageing mice

New research, publishing in Nature, investigates how the nervous system and immune system communicate to control metabolism and inflammation in ageing mice.


Prof. Janet Lord, Director of the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing at the University of Birmingham and British Society for Immunology spokesperson, said:

“This is an important study as it helps us to understand how the increase in inflammation in the body with age, termed ‘inflammageing’, may contribute to the accumulation of fat in body tissues, which in turn increases risk of age-related diseases.  The authors show that immune cells, specifically macrophages, from old mice increase the breakdown of noradrenaline, which is involved in fat breakdown (lipolysis) allowing fat to accumulate.  Although the study was carried out in mice, this could well lead to new drugs that target this novel pathway and reduce age-related disease.”


* ‘Inflammasome-driven catecholamine catabolism in macrophages blunts lipolysis during ageing’ by Christina D. Camell et al. published in Nature on Wednesday 27 September 2017. 


Declared interests

Prof. Janet Lord: “No interests to declare.”

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