Anti-obesity vaccine reduces food consumption in animals

A new therapeutic vaccine to treat obesity by suppressing the appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin decreases food intake and increases calorie burning in mice, a new study finds. The results will be presented Sunday at The Endocrine Society's 93rd Annual Meeting in Boston.

"An anti-ghrelin vaccine may become an alternate treatment for obesity, to be used in combination with diet and exercise," said Mariana Monteiro, MD, PhD, an associate professor at the University of Porto in Portugal. She is lead investigator of the study.

Ghrelin is a gut hormone that promotes by increasing appetite and while decreasing energy expenditure, or calorie burning. Recent research shows that bariatric surgeries, such as gastric bypass, suppress ghrelin.

"This suggests that there is a hormonal mechanism underlying the weight loss attained by the surgical procedures," Monteiro said.

Monteiro's group developed a using a noninfectious virus carrying ghrelin, which was designed to provoke an —development of antibodies against ghrelin—that would suppress this hormone. They then vaccinated normal-weight mice and mice with diet-induced obesity three times and compared them with control mice that received only saline injections.

Compared with unvaccinated controls, vaccinated mice—both normal-weight and obese mice—developed increasing amounts of specific anti-ghrelin antibodies, increased their and decreased their food intake, the authors reported. Within 24 hours after the first vaccination injection, obese mice ate 82 percent of the amount that control mice ate, and after the final vaccination shot they ate only 50 percent of what unvaccinated mice ate, Monteiro said.

The effects of each vaccination lasted for the two months of the study, which for the normal 18-month lifespan of mice, corresponds to four human years, she said. They reportedly saw no toxic effects in the mice as a result of the vaccine.

Vaccinated obese mice also displayed a reduced expression of neuropeptide Y (NPY). Monteiro said, "NPY is the most potent signal that increases appetite in the central nervous system. This finding shows that the anti-ghrelin vaccine decreased the feeding signals in the brain."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

In Brief: New drug slims down mice

Nov 21, 2010

A treatment that blocks the action of ghrelin—a peptide that has been called a "hunger hormone" -- leads to weight loss and other beneficial metabolic effects in mice, according to new research.

Scientists develop a new strategy to fight obesity

Oct 27, 2008

The antibody works against the gastric hormone ghrelin (pronounced "grell-in"), which has been linked to weight gain and fat storage through its metabolic actions. These findings point towards a potentially novel treatment ...

Recommended for you

What are the chances that your dad isn't your dad?

Apr 16, 2014

How confident are you that the man you call dad is really your biological father? If you believe some of the most commonly-quoted figures, you could be forgiven for not being very confident at all. But how ...

New technology that is revealing the science of chewing

Apr 15, 2014

CSIRO's 3D mastication modelling, demonstrated for the first time in Melbourne today, is starting to provide researchers with new understanding of how to reduce salt, sugar and fat in food products, as well ...

After skin cancer, removable model replaces real ear

Apr 11, 2014

(HealthDay)—During his 10-year struggle with basal cell carcinoma, Henry Fiorentini emerged minus his right ear, and minus the hearing that goes with it. The good news: Today, the 56-year-old IT programmer ...

Italy scraps ban on donor-assisted reproduction

Apr 09, 2014

Italy's Constitutional Court on Wednesday struck down a Catholic Church-backed ban against assisted reproduction with sperm or egg donors that has forced thousands of sterile couples to seek help abroad.

User comments