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October 10, 2006

Appetite-Fighting Molecule May Fight Obesity

Topics: Health Issues

Overweight and obesity are a global epidemic in both developing as well as developed nations, and according to the World Health Organization, of the estimated 1 billion adults worldwide who are overweight, about 300 million are considered obese. Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and some forms of cancer. Now, Japanese researchers are hopeful that they have found a class of molecules, such as nesfatin-1, that will offer future promise in treating obesity:

(HealthDay News) -- Japanese researchers have discovered a naturally occurring molecule that suppresses appetite in mammals, raising hopes that it might one day treat obesity in humans.

Over a period of 10 days, rats that received a continuous infusion of the compound, called nesfatin-1, ate significantly less food than untreated rats. They also gained significantly less weight than untreated rats (an average of 12.6 grams vs. an average of 30.4 grams), apparently without any adverse effects.

The findings, published in the Oct. 1 online edition of Nature, "indicate that nesfatin-1 might be a useful target for the development of drug therapies to treat obese persons," the study authors concluded.

A team led by Dr. Masatomo Mori, of the department of medicine and molecular science at Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, in Maebashi, say they discovered the molecule after analyzing 596 genes, nine of which are expressed in both the brains and fat tissues of mammals.

The researchers narrowed their search to NUCB2, a protein secreted by the hypothalamus, a brain region that helps regulate appetite. They suspect that a fragment of NUCB2 -- a molecule they dubbed "nesfatin-1" -- plays a key role in appetite control.

Read more of, "Appetite-Fighting Molecule May Fight Obesity."

Cross posted from New Hope Blog
Hat tip - Harry Owens

Posted by Richard at October 10, 2006 11:40 AM

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