A drug called trodusquemine could help treat obesity by controlling appetite and also help combat anxiety disorders, revealed researchers at the University of Ottawa. The researchers found a new biological pathway that regulates these two conditions, and also found that they may be amenable to treatment with the same drug.
Trodusquemine is undergoing clinical trials for its effects on appetite control and weight loss, and also for its potential effect on breast cancer.
Researchers were originally studying the effect of a gene called LMO4 on brain development and regeneration when they noticed that mice that lacked this gene in a certain part of the brain displayed anxious behavior and became obese. They found that an enzyme called PTP1B plays a crucial role in a molecular pathway that links LMO4, anxiety, obesity and the body's natural endocannabinoid system. When the researchers used a trodusquemine that specifically inhibits the activity of PTP1B, they found that both anxiety and obesity were reduced.
"Current treatments for anxiety disorders have addiction issues and other side effects, but this approach lets the brain fix itself by simply re-instating the appropriate level of PTP1B," said Dr. Hsiao-HueiChen.
The study appears in Neuron.