Hormone (GDF15) Being Studied As Possible Treatment for Obesity Is Risk Factor for Sepsis, New Study Shows; Inhibitor of GDF15 May Be Useful As Complementary Treatment for Sepsis

A group of scientists from the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC) (https://gulbenkian.pt/ciencia/) in Portugal, led by Luís Moita, PhD, discovered that a hormone that is being studied as a treatment for obesity reduces the resistance to infection caused by bacteria and is a risk factor for sepsis. The work, developed in collaboration among researchers from Portugal, France, Germany, and South Korea, was published online on June 2, 2020 in PNAS. The open-access article is titled “CXCL5-Mediated Recruitment of Neutrophils into the Peritoneal Cavity of Gdf15-Deficient Mice Protects Against Abdominal Sepsis” (https://www.pnas.org/content/117/22/12281). Sepsis is a potentially fatal illness, that derives from a deregulated response of the organism to an infection, leading to organ malfunction. A study recently published in the scientific journal The Lancet (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0140673618306962), estimated that, in 2017, sepsis affected 49 million people and 11 million people worldwide have died. With the aim of expanding knowledge about this disease, Dr. Moita’s team at IGC investigated whether the hormone known as GDF15 (growth and differentiation factor 15) could play a role in sepsis. This hormone is currently being widely studied by several laboratories and pharmaceutical companies as a treatment for obesity. “We’ve discovered a critical effect of GDF15 on infection, which is relevant because this hormone increases in many common diseases, like obesity, [and] pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases”, explains Dr. Moita.
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