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Anti-Obesity Drug Discovered by Scientists Targets Metabolism in Fat Tissues

Jun, 2021

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The study found that blocking the Y1 receptors in the fat cells increases the mechanism of fat-burning.

Researchers from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia found an inventive method for treating obesity that speeds up the energy expenditure by blocking the receptors in fat cells directly. An experimental drug is developed to target these receptors which have been found to be effective at treating obesity in rats.

The central nervous system produces a peptide called Neuropeptide Y (NPY) which is known for playing a vital role in several physiological processes. High NPY levels are associated with growing appetite along with weight gain, whereas low levels raise the energy expenditure, which instead of storing fat, helps the body to burn it. NPY uses Y1 which is amongst its major cellular receptors to exert its effects. This latest study set out for exploring if blocking receptor activity of Y1 in peripheral tissues is able to prevent weight gain by increasing the fat metabolism.

Using a model of an obese mouse, the scientists tested the experimental drug designed for blocking Y1 signals in fat tissues called BIBO3304. Co-senior author of the study, Yan-Churn Shi says that after being on a high-fat diet for nearly seven weeks, weight gain of the BIBO3304 mice reduced 40% compared to a controlled group that ate the same food.

The way Y1 receptor signals are limited to primary fat tissues is the most assuring aspect of this new research. Previous attempts for inhibiting mechanisms of NPY had led to wide systemic side effects, making its usage as an anti-obesity drug impractical, however focusing solely on Y1 receptors can prove to be the key for making the treatment work. There's still a lot of work to be done prior to launching and anti-obesity treatment medication for humans although this promising discovery shows a great potential in preventing obesity through destructing this receptor system of NYP-Y1.

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