Infographic: Decreasing metabolism inefficiency could tackle obesity at the source

weight problems
Credit: Reuters

Obesity affects millions worldwide and drives health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and many cancers. Now researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA, reported they have discovered BAM15, a protein that can be used as a potential treatment for obesity and its related diseases.

Currently available pharmacotherapy regimens rarely achieve weight loss of greater than 10% or provide patients with long-term weight control. An alternative approach to decreasing food intake or absorption is to decrease metabolic efficiency. Small molecule mitochondrial protonophore uncouplers decrease mitochondrial coupling efficiency resulting in increased nutrient oxidation to produce a given amount of ATP. The mitochondrial uncoupler 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) has been shown to have weight-loss effects in humans. However, DNP has a narrow window between effective and toxic doses.

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The researchers observed BAM15 increased mitochondrial respiration and sustained activity to a great extent. Enhanced body weight regulation was observed along with reductions in fat accumulation, improvements in whole-body glucose clearance, and energy expenditure without changing body temperature. Unlike usual weight-management medications, BAM15 did not reduce the amount of food consumed, but made mitochondria less efficient.

BAM15 not only made the mice resistant to weight gain but it also reduced blood sugars and insulin levels, and improved sensitivity of skeletal muscle to the effects of insulin. Skeletal muscle insulin resistance is a primary risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes.

jun penningtonbiomedicalresearch bam x
Credit: Kathryn Pergola

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