Researchers have discovered a promising drug that could shrink excess fat cells without suppressing your food intake. The drug is found to reduce body weight and blood cholesterol in obese mice. This new drug could fight obesity and other metabolic diseases, which affect numerous people all around the world.
The findings of the study were published in Biochemical Pharmacology. The study was led by researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston. The researchers discovered a molecule that could block the enzyme known as nicotinamide-N-methyltransferase (NNMT). This led to the reduction of fat cells in obese mice, according to Medical News Today.
Stanley Watowich, the senior author of the study from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UTMB, explained that as fat cells grow larger, they begin to overexpress a protein that serves as a metabolic brake that slows down fat cell metabolism. This makes it difficult for these cells to burn accumulating fat. He further explained that as the fat tissue expands, they secrete greater amounts of hormones and pro-inflammatory signals that are responsible for many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
In the study, the researchers gave the obese mice a high-fat diet. They also received either the drug or the placebo for 10 days. The results showed that the obese mice that took the new drug lost more than 7 percent of their total body weight. In addition, their white fat tissue mass and cell size reduced by about 30 percent compared with the mice that had the placebo. The blood cholesterol levels of the drug-treated mice were also reduced to normal levels, which are likened to those non-obese mice.
However, those mice that received a placebo had accumulated white fat and gain weight in the course of the study. Both groups had been given the same amount of food throughout the study. This showed that reduction of fat was not because of dieting, according to Science Daily.
Harshini Neelakantan, a UTMB research scientist in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and also a senior author of the study, said that blocking the action of fat cell brake could augment the cell metabolism and reduce the size of white fat deposits, treating the root cause of obesity and related metabolic diseases. He further said that these initial results are encouraging and could support further development of this new technology as a new and more effective approach to combating metabolic diseases.