Predicting the Development of Type 2 Diabetes

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Predicting the Development of Type 2 Diabetes

Public Library of Science
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0020406
  • Synopsis
  • Genetics/Genomics/Gene Therapy
  • Diabetes/Endocrinology/Metabolism


PLME0212_1200-1206.indd PLoS Medicine | 1200 Synopses of Research Articles Open access, freely available online December 2005 | Volume 2 | Issue 12 | e403 | e404 Systemic sclerosis (scleroderma or SSc) is the name for a group of progressive diseases, all of which involve the abnormal growth of connective tissue. They are chronic degenerative disorders in which there is widespread vascular deterioration and tissue loss. The recognition of SSc dates back many years. Indeed, the characteristic stretched thickening of the skin was probably fi rst described by Hippocrates. A more defi nitive description of the condition was made by Carlo Curzio in 1753, who described a patient as having wood-like skin with “tight eyelids, diffi culty in opening her mouth, coldness of her skin.” The etiology of SSc is still not completely understood, but appears to be autoimmune. Downstream of the immune activation, the molecules that have been implicated are the profi brotic cytokines, such as transforming growth factor-beta (TGFβ), interleukin-4 (IL-4), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), and connective tissue growth factor, all of which can cause fi brosis. In addition to the profi brotic effects, TGFβ and PDGF may also contribute to vasculopathy. Furthermore, the vascular changes in SSc skin lesions are associated with anti- endothelial cell autoantibodies. One problem in the research on SSc has been fi nding an appropriate animal model. One such model has now been developed: the transplantation of skin samples from patients with SSc into immunodefi cient mice. Without the interference of an effective murine immune system, it is possible to test the effect of various interventions on the patients’ skin samples. In a paper in PLoS Medicine, Chunming Dong and colleagues used this model to investigate the effect of paclitaxel on SSc skin samples. Paclitaxel is an attractive drug because it stabilizes microtubules, whic

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