With the new compound which mimics exercise developed by UK researchers, new treatment s for obesity and type 2 diabetes could be developed. Known as compound 14 the molecule can block ATIC, a cellular enzyme which has an essential role in metabolism. The paper was published in the journal Chemistry & Biology.
The research team led by Professor of chemical biology Ali Tavassoli, from the University of Southampton, UK. They tested the compound which mimics exercise on two groups of mice. One group of mice was on a normal diet, whereas the other group was fed with food rich in fat. As a result the second group became obese and also intolerant to glucose, which is a sign of prediabetes.
The findings of the research indicate that the group of mice that was on a normal diet kept a normal weight and also showed normal blood glucose levels. On the other hand mice that were on a high-fat diet and were treated with compound 14 showed reduced levels in blood glucose levels which were near to the normal level.
While normal-weight mice treated with the compound did not experience any weight loss, obese mice treated with one dose of the compound daily for a period of seven days lost nearly five percent of their body weight and also had an improved tolerance to glucose.
When the compound 14 blocks the ATIC function, the molecule called ZMP accumulates in the cells and this activates the cell’s central energy sensor also known as AMPK. This gives them the sensation that they are low in energy and as a consequence the cells try to increase the energy levels by accelerating the metabolism and increasing the uptake of glucose.
Researchers believe that compound 14 can be used to develop treatments for obesity and type 2 diabetes. Study co-author and professor in integrative physiology at the University of Southampton Dr. Felino Cagampang remarked:
The issue is that established drugs do not successfully enable patients with type 2 diabetes to achieve glycemic control and some can even result in weight gain, a leading factor driving the diabetes epidemic. In contrast, this new molecule seems to reduce glucose levels and at the same time decrease body weight, but only if the subject is obese.”
For the future the research team intends to develop the compound which mimics exercise and observe the effect it has on a long-term period. If it proves to be safe and efficient the next step would be to develop new drugs.
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