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BSI response to paper on macrophages impairing metabolism in ageing

27 September 2017

MouseNew research, published in Nature, has investigated how the nervous system and immune system communicate to control metabolism and inflammation in ageing mice. The paper reports on the discovery of a new type of macrophage that resides on nerves in belly fat tissue. These specialised macrophages appear to become inflamed with age and do not allow the neurotransmitters to properly function.  In response to this study, the British Society for Immunology issued the following statement:

Professor 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.”

The full paper that this statement is in response to can be found at: Camell et al. 2017 Inflammasome-driven catecholamine catabolism in 
macrophages blunts lipolysis during ageing. Nature doi:10.1038/nature24022