Chance discovery links ACE inhibitors to weight loss

Australian scientists say that targeting angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) can be an effective way to spur weight loss and prevent diabetes. And the research demonstrates that ACE-inhibitors could be modified to do just that. In a study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists described how they bred mice that couldn't produce the ACE hormone. Compared to a control group that ate and exercised in exactly the same ways, the engineered mice had 50 percent to 60 percent less body fat and maintained lower blood sugar levels.

"The mechanism we've shown in rodents is that a deficiency of ACE leads to an increase in metabolic rate and burning of calories," neurobiologist Michael Mathai told The Australian. "If you combine that with control of (food intake) that should be less excess calories to store as fat."

Interestingly, the researchers discovered the link by accident. The team had been investigating blood pressure mechanisms when they observed that the weight of the mice had dropped unexpectedly.

- read the story in The Australian