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BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 15 June 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1460

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Scarcely a year passes without reports of a new function for interleukins, which were originally thought to act only on immune cells. Now they seem to have a pivotal role in regulating energy balance and insulin sensitivity (Nature Medicine 28 May 2006; doi: 10.1038/nm1415). Gene knockout experiments in mice have shown that animals deficient in interleukin 18 develop hyperphagia, pronounced obesity, and insulin resistance. Could this molecule be the next therapeutic target for obesity?

Calcium is an important intracellular signalling molecule, and new research suggests that its actions within the central nervous system could underlie the pathogenesis of bipolar disorder. The calcium sensor protein NCS-1, which is overexpressed in bipolar disorders, interacts with another receptor protein to increase the opening of crucial intracellular calcium channels. Researchers report that lithium (a divalent ion, like calcium) inhibits the enhancing effect of NCS-1, providing a plausible explanation of the effects of lithium in patients with bipolar disorders (Journal of Clinical Investigation 2006;116: 1668-74).

Allograft meniscus transplantation is indicated for patients with symptoms after meniscectomy to prevent the progression of articular degeneration. In a two year follow-up study, meniscus transplantation alone or combined with other reconstructive procedures improved …

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