Yale Targets Weight Loss Pill
Researchers from Yale University may be close to finding a weight loss pill that boosts energy, and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. The scientist found that lowering a key enzyme in the brain, prolylcarboxypeptidase (PRCP), can decrease appetite and improve energy, resulting in weight loss.
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation was performed on mice. The researchers found that PRCP controls another essential hormone that regulates energy expenditure and inhibits food intake. The result of targeting PRCP was weight loss and decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.
Senior author Sabrina Diano, associate professor in the Departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, and Neurobiology says, "Our research provides the first evidence that breaking down molecules in the brain that regulate metabolism is an important component of weight control.”
The molecule, alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) remained higher when PRCP was blocked, providing a new target for weight loss pills.
The study was conducted on mice that were naturally lean and then on mice that had PRCP removed. They ate less and lost weight. The mice had lower alpha-MSH, a hormone produced in the hypothalamus.
The mice were even able to lose weight when given a “fast food” type diet, containing forty five percent fat. Blocking PRCP in the brain resulted in less weight gain compared to mice given a regular diet. The findings could result in new and improved weight loss pills to treat escalating rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes. The study is considered a major advance in weight loss and obesity research.
Journal of Clinical Investigation, Vol. 119, No. 8 (August 2009)