A hormone in the body, known to have cardiovascular benefits, also helps in the treatment of metabolic syndrome, a new study has said.
The hormone is called Angiotensin 1-7, heard The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
"No specific form of medical therapy for the metabolic syndrome presently exists. But an estimated 20 to 25 percent of the world's adult population has the metabolic syndrome," said Dr. Yonit Marcus, a PhD student at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. ,
The metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors that raise the risk of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
A diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome comes from having at least three of the following: increased waist circumference (abdominal obesity), low HDL ("good") cholesterol, high triglycerides (fats in the blood), high blood pressure and high blood glucose (blood sugar).
The researchers say that the renin-angiotensin system and its key player angiotensin II-which normally help control blood pressure-likely contribute to the development of obesity and the metabolic syndrome when overactive.
They add that a product of angiotensin II metabolism, a hormone called angiotensin 1-7, counteracts many of the negative effects of excess angiotensin II, including high blood pressure, kidney disease, heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythms), according to Marcus.
Working in collaboration with other researchers, Marcus studied whether angiotensin 1-7 had any beneficial effect on the metabolic syndrome, using an established model of the syndrome, "the fructose-fed rat".
The researchers administered treatment with angiotensin 1-7 by an infusion pump.
They observed that though one month of the treatment did not affect body weight in the fructose-fed rats, it did significantly lower the high fasting insulin levels that the fructose diet raised.
According to them, the hormone also significantly improved components of the metabolic syndrome, by greatly decreasing triglycerides and blood sugar levels, compared with those of control rats that received no angiotensin 1-7 treatment.
"These results offer a new potential hope to treat the metabolic syndrome," Marcus said.