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Papers of the Month - July 2005

By Jerry Phelps
September 2005

1) Johnson J, Bagley J, Skaznik-Wikiel M, Lee HJ, Adams GB, Niikura Y, Tschudy KS, Tilly JC, Cortes ML, Forkert R, Spitzer T, Iacomini J, Scadden DT, Tilly JL. Oocyte generation in adult Mammalian ovaries by putative germ cells in bone marrow and peripheral blood. Cell. 2005 Jul 29;122(2):303-15.

Implications: The researchers have not yet determined whether oocytes derived from germline stem cells can undergo fertilization and subsequently develop into viable offspring. However, the results do prove that bone marrow and peripheral blood are sources of the germline stem cells and can sustain oocyte production into adulthood. Much additional research is needed, but if adult oocyte production is also possible in humans, it could have major implications on the treatment of infertility and other disorders such as osteoporosis.

2) Engel SA, Olshan AF, Savitz DA, Thorp J, Erichsen HC, Chanock SJ. Risk of small-for-gestational age is associated with common anti-inflammatory cytokine polymorphisms. Epidemiology. 2005 Jul;16(4):478­86.

Implications: These results are somewhat paradoxical in that decreased production of interleukin-4 caused both increased risk for spontaneous pre-term birth and decreased risk for babies small-for­gestational age. However, increased production of anti-inflammatory cytokines increased the risk of small-for-gestational age. These data suggest that maintaining the proper balance of pro- and anti­inflammatory cytokines is crucial for good pregnancy outcomes and deviations in either direction may increase the likelihood of pre-term birth or low-birth weight babies.

3) Lillard-Wetherell K, Combs KA, Groden J. BLM helicase complements disrupted type II telomerelengthening in telomerase-negative sgs1 yeast. Cancer Res. 2005 Jul 1;65(13):5520-2.

Implications: These results are somewhat paradoxical in that decreased production of interleukin-4 caused both increased risk for spontaneous pre-term birth and decreased risk for babies small-for­gestational age. However, increased production of anti-inflammatory cytokines increased the risk of small-for-gestational age. These data suggest that maintaining the proper balance of pro- and anti­inflammatory cytokines is crucial for good pregnancy outcomes and deviations in either direction may increase the likelihood of pre-term birth or low-birth weight babies.

4) Choi DK, Pennathur S, Perier C, Tieu K, Teismann P, Wu DC, Jackson-Lewis V, Vila M, Vonsattel JP, Heinecke JW, Przedborski S. Ablation of the inflammatory enzyme myeloperoxidase mitigates features of Parkinson's disease in mice. J Neurosci. 2005 Jul 13;25(28):6594-600.

Implications: The authors of the study point out that the exact mechanisms by which the telomere lengthening occurs and the role the helicase plays in these pathways are still unknown. The study does show that BLM is an important component in maintaining telomeres and sheds light on the cellular mechanisms leading to Bloom's syndrome.



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