Molecular research points to new obesity therapy

A team of Japanese researchers at the department of medicine and molecular science at Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine have found a molecule that suppresses appetite in animals, raising the prospect that they have found a new way to treat obesity. Infusing rats with nesfatin-1 over a 10 day period, they ate less food than untreated rats--12.6 grams versus 30.4 grams--without any signs of adverse events. The scientists focused on the NUCB2 protein in the brain that helps people regulate their appetite. They took a molecule, dubbed it nesfatin-1, and conducted their research with a group of obese rats bred with a gene mutation that made them resistant to leptin, which evidently plays a role in promoting obesity among people. The researchers then blocked the effect of nesfatin-1 in a group of rats and saw their weight balloon. Their work is published in the October 1 online edition of Nature.

- here's the HealthDay report on the research