The senior author of the study, Dr. Praveen Sethupathy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, leads an interdisciplinary laboratory that weaves together computational and experimental approaches to understand the role of microRNAs in complex metabolic diseases. "MicroRNAs are thought to impart stability to gene networks, particularly in the face of changes to the environment, such as diet," he says. "MicroRNAs represent promising therapeutic targets for a variety of metabolic diseases, but a lot more work remains to be done in order to fully appreciate how and when they function."
In a related editorial published in this month's issue of Hepatology, Dr. Carlos Fernndez-Hernando from the New York University School of Medicine confirms the emergence of microRNAs in regulating cholesterol and fatty acid metabolism. He writes, "Altogether these data (by Vickers et al.) strongly suggest that miR-27b regulates lipid metabolism, but its role in regulating lipid levels in other cells, such as macrophages and neurons, remains unclear." Dr. Fernndez-Hernando highlights the importance of the new in silico approach used by the researchers to identify microRNAs in regulating genes involved in the same bodily process, suggesting this method could be used to identify microRNAs in controlling genetic networks.
|Contact: Dawn Peters|