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Anti-obesity vaccine boosts calorie expenditure, curbs appetite in mice

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Anti-obesity vaccine

Diet and exercise that are mainstays for treating and preventing obesity might get a boost from a newly developed anti-obesity vaccine found to curb appetite and boost calorie burning in mice.

According to findings presented by the Endocrine Society, Sunday, June 6, 2011, the vaccine suppresses the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin by producing antibodies against the hormone that is linked to obesity.

Vaccine to fight obesity may work same as weight-loss surgery

Study author Mariana Monteiro, MD, PhD, an associate professor at the University of Porto in Portugal and lead investigator of the study says, β€œAn anti-ghrelin vaccine may become an alternate treatment for obesity, to be used in combination with diet and exercise.”

The authors note ghrelin, a hormone produced in the gut that stimulates appetite, promotes weight gain and slows metabolism, is suppressed following weight loss surgery.

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The researchers found the vaccine reduced food intake by 82 percent in obese mice within 24 hours after receiving the first injection; compared to control mice.

The researchers gave normal weight and obese mice the anti-obesity vaccine, noting both groups developed antibodies to ghrelin, increased calorie expenditure and decreased food intake compared to unvaccinated mice.

Monteiro says after the final vaccine that might be used to combat obesity in humans, mice ate 50 percent less than the control group.

Mice live 18 months, and the anti-obesity vaccine worked for two months – the equivalent of four human years, with no toxic effects.

The authors say the anti-obesity vaccine works by decreasing feeding signals in the brain by reducing expression of the neuropeptide Y (NPY) that is a potent appetite stimulator. The vaccine to fight obesity could be used in humans, pending more research and might offer an alternate treatment for weight loss, combined with diet and exercise.

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