Brain molecule that helps control hunger identified

June 11th, 2009 - 12:47 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 11 (ANI): Scientists in the UK have identified a new appetite suppressant for promoting weight loss.

Prokineticin 2 is a recently discovered signaling molecule that occurs naturally in the part of the brain that helps control hunger.

According to researchers, the brain molecule could one day be used to develop an effective anti-obesity treatment.

In the study, when both lean and obese mice were treated with PK2 for 5 days, they lost almost 5 percent of their body weight.

“This is a greater weight loss than people achieve with current nonsurgical weight loss therapies,” said study co-author Waljit Dhillo, a clinical senior lecturer at Imperial College London.

For the study, the researchers first dissolved a commercially available form of PK2 (from PeproTech Ltd.) in saline and injected it into the brain of 12 rats, which were allowed to eat as much as they wanted for 24 hours.

Compared with 12 control rats that received only saline injections, the treated rats ate much less food; in the first hour alone, their food intake was 86 percent less.

The researchers found that PK2 did not affect movement, behaviour or the ability to burn off calories.

To establish whether PK2 could be a potential anti-obesity treatment, the researchers changed the route of drug administration to be similar to the way patients with diabetes inject insulin-into the stomach.

For 5 days, 10 lean mice and 10 obese mice received two PK2 injections a day into the abdomen. Again, the treated mice ate much less than did the control mice, which resulted in weight loss of almost 5 percent of their body weight.

“Our research shows that PK2 reduces hunger. The results hold the promise that PK2 may be developed as a drug to treat obesity, which could help the millions of people suffering from obesity and its consequences,” Dhillo said.

The study was presented at The Endocrine Society’s 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. (ANI)

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