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Diabetes and anorexia might be treatable by inhibiting ‘hunger hormone’, mice study suggests

| | December 18, 2017

The GLP posts this article or excerpt as part of a daily curated selection of biotechnology-related news, opinion and analysis.

Scientists once had high hopes that inhibiting a hormone named ghrelin would be the key to preventing obesity. Ghrelin didn’t turn out to be a weight loss panacea. But now, the discovery of the first molecule naturally made by the body that blocks ghrelin’s effects may open up new avenues for treating other conditions, including diabetes and anorexia.

[A] team headed by researchers at NGM Biopharmaceuticals in South San Francisco, California, was investigating how bariatric surgery overhauls metabolism. The scientists operated on obese mice, performing a type of bariatric surgery called vertical sleeve gastrectomy that involves removing most of the stomach. They then examined which genes became more or less active after the procedure. As they report online today in Cell Metabolism, the rodents’ downsized stomachs produced 52 times more of a protein named LEAP2 than normal.

They discovered that LEAP2 inhibits the receptor for ghrelin by fastening to it and possibly preventing ghrelin from latching on.

The study shows that LEAP2 is “a new, important part of the ghrelin system that is essential for our survival,” says endocrinologist Jeffrey Zigman of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “Time will tell whether it can be targeted” to treat conditions such as obesity, anorexia, and diabetes, he says.

Read full, original post: Gut molecule that blocks ‘hunger hormone’ may spur new treatments for diabetes, anorexia

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