New culprit identified in metabolic syndrome

A new study suggests uric acid may play a role in causing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors that increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The work also demonstrates the importance of the intestine in removing uric acid from the body, opening the door to potential therapies for preventing or treating type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Altering mix of gut microbes prevents obesity, but diet remains key factor

The mix of microbes living inside the gut can protect against obesity, but a healthy diet is critical, according to School of Medicine scientists who transplanted intestinal microbes from obese and lean twins into mice and fed the animals different diets. Pictured are researchers Vanessa Ridaura, a graduate student, and Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD, director of the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology.

School receives $8 million grant to study asthma, allergies

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, including Michael Holtzman, MD, have received an $8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the role of the barrier functions of the skin, gut, and airway in asthma and allergic diseases. Understanding the role of the epithelial cells in these tissues may help prevent and treat respiratory illnesses in the future, the researchers say.