The journal Nature Metabolism started publishing only six months ago but has already shown a strong track record of promising research papers. One example is a paper published in July, showing that a ketogenic diet, a diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates, often also referred to as the Atkins diet, promotes the growth of lymph vessels in mice and might lead to substantial reductions in lymphedema which is a huge problem in clinics.
Lymphedema can arise as a result of injuries, or for example through radiotherapy which damages tissue and there is no approved treatment at the moment. The published paper points out dietary and potential pharmacological strategies as to how lymphedema could be reduced. The data is so promising and the researchers are so excited about it that they are now recruiting for patients with lymphedema for a clinical trial. Read the paper here.
“I was thrilled to see, that the research that we publish might actually lead to an improvement in patient health relatively quickly and I am very confident that this paper will be widely read,” said Christoph Schmitt, chief editor at Nature Metabolism. Another highlight was a published physiology paper about a previously unrecognized network of tiny blood vessels in the bone that was picked up by the press and prompted some journalists to call for a rewriting of anatomy books.
Schmitt says he felt there was a sigh of relief from scientists when the journal was launched, because they thought this was such an important gap in the Nature portfolio to fill. “Submissions were strong right from the start, even before we’d published anything” he adds.
One of the emerging trends Schmitt is seeing in the research community is that there are more and more points of contact and connections between the fields of cellular metabolism and systemic metabolism. So far these disciplines have been mostly separated and one research example they have seen is how the systemic metabolic state, for example nutrition overload as a consequence of high calorie diet, affects the metabolic function within cells. Examples could be molecular mechanisms by which high-fat diets might promote cancer growth. “It’s nice to see those sort of fields connect in a meaningful way”, says Schmitt.