- A new drug has been developed to fight obesity.
- The drug stops the overexpression of a protein which slows down fat breakdown.
- Apart from increasing the fat metabolism, the drug also lowers blood cholesterol levels.
A new drug that selectively shrinks fat cells by increasing the fat intake but without reducing the food intake has been developed.
The drug significantly reduces body weight and blood cholesterol levels without lowering food intake in obese mice.
‘Overexpression of a protein due to larger fat cells slows down fat breakdown. Blocking the synthesis of the protein with a newly developed drug helps in weight loss.’
"As fat cells grow larger, they begin to overexpress a protein that acts as a metabolic brake that slows down fat cell metabolism, making it harder for these cells to burn accumulating fat," said senior author Stanley Watowich, UTMB associate professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology.
"In addition, as the fat tissue expands, they secrete greater amounts of hormones and pro-inflammatory signals that are responsible for several chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease."
The research team discovered a molecule that blocks this metabolic brake from operating in obese white fat cells. By blocking this metabolic brake, they were able to increase the metabolism of white fat cells.
Drug For Weight Loss
In the study, mice were fed a high-fat diet until they became obese and then received either the drug or a placebo. Following 10 days of drug treatment, researchers found that the obese mice receiving the actual drug
- had a weight loss of more than 7% of its body weight
- decreased white fat tissue mass and cell size by 30%.
- normalized blood cholesterol levels
Placebo-treated mice continued to accumulate white fat and gain weight throughout the study. Interestingly, mice in both the drug-treated and placebo groups consumed the same amount of food during the course of the study period, showing that the fat loss was not due to appetite suppression.
"Blocking the action of the fat cell brake provides an innovative 'fat'-specific mechanism to increase cell metabolism and reduce the size of white fat deposits, thereby treating a root cause of obesity and related metabolic diseases," said senior author Harshini Neelakantan, a UTMB research scientist in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology.
"These initial results are encouraging and support further development of this technology as a new and more effective approach to combating metabolic diseases."
- Stanley Watowich, Virginia Vance, Michael Wetzel, Celeste Finnerty, Jonathan Hommel, Hua-Yu Leo Wang, Stanton McHardy. 'UTMB develops a promising anti-obesity drug that shrinks fat without suppressing appetite.' Biochemical Pharmacology (2017).