TRAIL [TNF (tumour necrosis factor)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand] is in clinical trials for the treatment of cancer. In the present issue of Clinical Science, Bernardi and co-workers report that the administration of TRAIL in mice fed on a high-fat diet resulted in reduced adiposity and improved metabolic responses to a glucose and insulin tolerance test compared with mice without TRAIL. The metabolic improvements were associated with a higher rate of apoptotic fat cells and with a reduction in the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These results suggest that TRAIL could be an exciting new therapeutic for treating obesity, but further studies are required to determine its major mechanisms of action.

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