α-Galactosylceramide: a potent immunomodulator produced by gut microbesIntestinal bacteria have coevolved with humans to respond to and regulate metabolism in a species-specific manner. This commensalism, in turn, influences local and systemic energy homeostasis and immune regulation. Although recent advances in high-throughput technologies have enabled researchers to connect these unique genetic and metabolic microbial signatures with human health and disease, gaps remain in our understanding of the specific mechanisms by which intestinal bacteria impact complex human biology.
Building bridges: PCSK7 as a NAFLD candidate gene connecting hepatic inflammation with hypertriglyceridemiaNonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) now ranks as the most prevalent liver disease worldwide (1), but progression from its more indolent stage of nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) to advanced stages of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is not well understood. The accumulation of neutral lipids (principally triglycerides, TGs) within hepatocellular lipid droplets (LDs) in obese subjects with NAFL largely reflects increased de novo lipogenesis. In addition, the excessive hepatic TG burden also promotes augmented VLDL secretion and leads to systemic hypertriglyceridemia.