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The effective reproductive number Rt of COVID-19 is determined indirectly from data that are only incompletely known. Approaches based on reconstructing these data by sampling time lags from suitable distributions introduce noise effects that can result in distorted estimates of Rt. This, in turn, may lead to misleading interpretations of the efficacy of the various measures taken to limit COVID-19 transmission.
Researchers in Italy have not only identified new unexpected liaisons between old cytokines and the new coronavirus that open the way to the use in COVID-19 of drugs already approved for other diseases, but they have also provided valuable indications on how to better prepare ourselves to face a possible second wave of infection.
Recent evidence suggests that photic inputs regulate diurnal variations in the insulin sensitivity of metabolically relevant tissues via a previously unrecognised mechanism involving the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms underlying photic control of insulin action is of paramount medical importance.
The cellular prion protein (PrPC), a cell surface glycoprotein originally identified for its central role in prion diseases, has recently been implicated in the pathogenesis of other neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. This article provides an overview of what is known about the role of PrPC beyond prion disorders and discusses the potential implications of targeting this protein in different diseases.
Cancer cells are dependent on a few driver genes for the constitutive activation of the signalling pathways which aid cellular proliferation. Targeting oncogenic-dependent genes has met with success, as demonstrated in several cancer types.
Continuous bone remodelling is required to replace old bone tissue and to repair bone micro-cracks. In adults it has been estimated that 10% of bone is replaced every year and that this is crucial for maintenance of a healthy skeleton.
Neuregulin-4 is a cytokine with many functions primarily produced by fat tissue. It is associated with body fat mass, insulin resistance, impaired glucose metabolism, obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome.
The HER2 oncogene is overexpressed in different tumour types and drugs specifically targeting it have been successfully used in cancer therapy. Resistance to these drugs ultimately occurs. In this context autophagy was reported to be upregulated.
The Wnt pathway is not only involved in tumourigenesis and cell proliferation, but also contributes to chemoresistance and cancer stem cell propagation, responsible for tumour recurrence after therapy, metastasis and poor patient survival.