Whether classified as regulators of inflammation, metabolism, or other physiological functions, a distinctive set of molecules enables the human body to convey information from one cell to another. An in-depth primer on the molecular mediators that coordinate complex bodily processes, Body Messages provides fresh insight into how biologists first identified this special class of molecules and the consequences of their discovery for modern medicine.
Focusing on proteins that regulate inflammation and metabolism—including the cytokines and adipokines at the core of her own research—Giamila Fantuzzi examines the role body messages play in the physiology of health as well as in the pathology of various illnesses. Readers are introduced to different ways of conceptualizing biomedical research and to the advantages and pitfalls associated with identifying molecules beginning with function or structure. By bringing together areas of research usually studied separately, Fantuzzi stresses the importance of investigating the body as a whole and affirms the futility of trying to separate basic from clinical research. Drawing on firsthand interviews with researchers who made major contributions to the field, Body Messages illustrates that the paths leading to scientific discovery are rarely direct, nor are they always the only routes available.