Drug ‘could help tackle obesity’
Tuesday 24th September 2013, 4:01PM BST.
An anti-radiation drug may hold the key to new treatments for tackling obesity and diabetes, scientists believe.
Experiments with the anti-oxidant tempol on mice fed a high-fat diet suggest it can reduce weight gain, research shows.
Rodents given the drug also had lower blood glucose and insulin levels than those not given it.
The research team from Penn State University and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the United States believe it works by targeting bacteria in the gut, sparking a chemical chain reaction that affects the amount of fat and glucose sugar being absorbed into the body.
Andrew Patterson, Penn State’s assistant professor of molecular toxicology, said: “The two interesting findings are that the mice that received tempol didn’t gain as much weight and the tempol somehow impacted the gut microbiome of these mice.
“Eventually, we hope that this can lead to a new line of therapeutics to treat obesity and diabetes.”
Writing in the Nature Communications journal, the team – which included Frank J Gonzalez and James B Mitchell from the NCI – reported that tempol reduced the amount of Lactobacillus bacteria in the gut.
This increased the amount of a bile acid, which in turn affected the farnesoid X receptor (FXR), which regulates the metabolism of fats and glucose in the body.
“The study suggests that inhibiting FXR in the intestine might be a potential target for anti-obesity drugs,” Mr Gonzalez said.