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New anti-inflammatory compound discovered

Scientists have discovered that a lipid known to protect the heart from inflammation and to cause skin allergic reactions also reduces inflammation of the kidneys. The discovery could help devise new ways of treating inflammatory kidney diseases. The lipid, called sphingosylphosphorylcholine (SPC), has been shown to cause an increase in urine production in the kidneys and an abnormal accumulation of salt in the urine. But how SPC works in the kidneys is not completely understood. Andrea Huwiler and colleagues examined the various proteins activated by SPC in kidney cells and showed for the first time that SPC triggers proteins known to reduce inflammation. Although more details will be needed to understand how these proteins and how SPC may interact with other anti-inflammatory proteins such as transforming growth factor beta SPC may be useful in the treatment of chronic inflammatory and fibrotic diseases of the kidneys, the scientists concluded.


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