Manipulating fat cells will soon be the key to weight loss
Australian scientists may have discovered how to help people lose weight without cutting back on food, a breakthrough that could pave the way for fat-burning drugs.
Researchers in Melbourne found that by manipulating fat cells in mice they were able to speed up the animals’ metabolisms.
They found that when a particular enzyme, known as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), was removed, mice were able to eat the same amount as other mice but burn more calories and therefore gain less weight.
Animals without the enzyme were on average 20% lighter than normal mice and had 50 to 60% less body fat, senior researcher at the Howard Florey Institute Michael Mathai said.
Mathai, who is also a lecturer in nutrition at Victoria University, said the slimmer mice also appeared to have less chance of developing diabetes because they processed sugar faster than normal mice.
He said the research, to be published on Tuesday in the United States-based Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could be used to develop drugs to assist weight loss.
Drugs which impair the action of ACE already exist and are mostly used to combat high blood pressure.
“The drugs are out there because they are used for hypertension,” he said. “So we know their safety and their tolerability. What we don’t know is whether or not they will work in humans. And we don’t know whether it will work in all obese humans.”
Mathai said it could be a question of finding the right dosage of hypertension medication, or developing a new type of drug of the same class, to be used as weight-loss pills.
Via Times of India