Editorial


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Abstract

A themed section in this issue of Br J Pharmacol, on ‘Advances in Nutritional Pharmacology’, provides a valuable and timely update on progress in this area.The value of dietary components to improvement in health and, particularly, to prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer, is frequently reported in the media and therefore often captures the attention of the wider public. Understanding the pharmacological mechanisms by which nutritional elements confer their health benefits enables us to keep the public informed, but also aids in the identification of new targets for drug development. In recent years there has been significant progress in this field.Four rapidly developing areas are reviewed. Vosper (2009) covers the identification of a receptor for niacin and the subsequent development of selective agonists as lipid lowering agents. Wu-Wong (2009) describes the development of new Vitamin D analogues for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. de Roos et al. (2009) provide detailed insight into how omega-3 fatty acids, also known as longchain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) protect against cardiovascular disease. Zhou et al. (2009) cover the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of resveretrol in protection against cancer.These reviews are complimented by three key original articles focusing on endogenous mechanisms of weight control involving endocannabinoids (Izzo et al., 2009), a circulating protein, the soluble leptin receptor (Zhang & Scarpace, 2009) and a treatment, zinc plus cyclo-(His-Pro) (CHP), known to increase insulin metabolism (Song et al., 2009).

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