Fat Isn’t All Bad: Skin Adipocytes Help Protect Against Infections

When it comes to skin infections, a healthy and robust immune response may depend greatly upon what lies beneath. In a new paper published in the January 2, 2015 issue of Science, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report the surprising discovery that fat cells below the skin help protect us from bacteria.

Richard Gallo, MD, PhD, professor and chief of dermatology at UC San Diego School of Medicine, and colleagues have uncovered a previously unknown role for dermal fat cells, known as adipocytes: They produce antimicrobial peptides that help fend off invading bacteria and other pathogens. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Richard Gallo

Dr. Richard Gallo

Richard Gallo, MD, PhD, is professor of medicine and pediatrics and chief of the Division of Dermatology.

Read Science article abstract on PubMed

Visit Dr. Gallo’s laboratory website

Cholesterol-Lowering Statins Boost Bacteria-Killing Cells

Widely prescribed for their cholesterol-lowering properties, recent clinical research indicates that statins can produce a second, significant health benefit: lowering the risk of severe bacterial infections such as pneumonia and sepsis… Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Christopher K. Glass, M.D., Ph.D.

Department of Medicine coauthors on the published paper are Anna L. Kogen, Ph.D., Richard Gallo, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and Chief of the Division of Dermatology; and corresponding author Christopher K. Glass, M.D., Ph.D. (pictured above), Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.

Read the published study (PDF).