Scientists at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology have recently found a new hormone 'MOTS-c' that may help cure obesity caused by a high-fat Western diet and normalizes the metabolism, without putting too much effort in exercising. Hormone MOTS-c primarily targets muscle tissue, where it restores insulin sensitivity, counteracting diet-induced and age-dependent insulin resistance.
To test the effects of MOTS-c, the research team injected the hormone into mice fed a high-fat diet, which typically causes them to grow obese and develop a resistance to insulin. The hormone not only suppressed both effects in mice, they also reversed age-dependent insulin-resistance, a condition that precedes diabetes.
MOTS-c is unique in that it was encoded in the DNA of mitochondria, the 'powerhouses' of cells that convert food into energy, while other hormones are encoded in DNA in the nucleus. Changhan Lee, assistant professor at USC Davis, said, "The study sheds new light on mitochondria and positions them as active regulators of metabolism."