About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Protein That Interferes With Appetite-suppressing Hormone Identified

by Sheela Philomena on April 19, 2013 at 12:34 PM
Font : A-A+

 Protein That Interferes With Appetite-suppressing Hormone Identified

Scientists from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have discovered a protein that can interfere with the brain's response to leptin. They've also created a compound that blocks the protein's action — a potential forerunner to an anti-obesity drug.

In experiments with mice fed a high-fat diet, scientists from UTMB and the University of California, San Diego explored the role of the protein, known as Epac1, in blocking leptin's activity in the brain. They found that mice genetically engineered to be unable to produce Epac1 had lower body weights, lower body fat percentages, lower blood-plasma leptin levels and better glucose tolerance than normal mice.

Advertisement

When the researchers used a specially developed "Epac inhibitor" to treat brain-slice cultures taken from normal laboratory mice, they found elevated levels of proteins associated with greater leptin sensitivity. Similar results were seen in the genetically engineered mice that lacked the Epac1 gene. In addition, normal mice treated with the inhibitor had significantly lower levels of leptin in their blood plasma — an indication that Epac1 also affected their leptin levels.

"We found that we can increase leptin sensitivity by creating mice that lack the genes for Epac1 or through a pharmacological intervention with our Epac inhibitor," said UTMB professor Xiaodong Cheng, lead author of a paper on the study that recently appeared on the cover of Molecular and Cellular Biology, available on the journal's Web site at http://mcb.asm.org/content/33/5.toc. "The knockout mice gave us a way to tease out the function of the protein, and the inhibitor served as a pharmacological probe that allowed us to manipulate these molecules in the cells."
Advertisement

Cheng and his colleagues suspected a connection between Epac1 and leptin because Epac1 is activated by cyclic AMP, a signaling molecule linked to metabolism and leptin production and secretion. Cyclic AMP is tied to a multitude of other cell signaling processes, many of which are targeted by current drugs. Cheng believes that understanding how it acts through Epac1 (and another form of the protein called Epac2) will also generate new pharmaceutical possibilities — possibly including a drug therapy that will help fight obesity and diabetes.

"We refer to these Epac inhibitors as pharmacological probes, and while they are still far away from drugs, pharmaceutical intervention is always our eventual goal," Cheng said. "We were the first to develop Epac inhibitors, and now we're working very actively with Dr. Jia Zhou, a UTMB medicinal chemist, to modify them and improve their properties. In addition, we are collaborating with colleagues at the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences in searching for more potent and selective pharmacological probes for Epac proteins."

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Contraceptive Pills in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Curtail Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Mushroom May Help Cut Down the Odds of Developing Depression
How to Battle Boredom during COVID
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Magical Millets for Your Health Diet and Nutrition Tips for Athletes Nutrition IQ 

Recommended Reading
Obesity
Obesity is a condition where there is excess accumulation of body fat which poses a risk to the ......
Quiz on Obesity
"We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help ......
Body Mass Index
The BMI calculator helps you assess your weight indicating if it is normal or if you are ......
Tips to Control Obesity in Children
Obesity is resistant to instant remedies and its management is a long-term endeavor. Here are a few ...
Diet and Nutrition Tips for Athletes
Athletes can be physically fit by consuming a well balanced nutritious diet, which keeps them mental...
Magical Millets for Your Health
Millets are far more nutrient dense than wheat and rice. They are inexpensive and tasty too. Nutriti...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use