New weight loss discovery moves us closer to 'the Pill' for obesity

March 7, 2011

An important discovery in mice may make a big difference in people's waistlines thanks to a team of Harvard scientists who found that reducing the function of a transmembrane protein, called Klotho, in obese mice with high blood sugar levels produced lean mice with reduced blood sugar levels. This protein also exists in humans, suggesting that selectively targeting Klotho could lead to a new class of drugs to reduce obesity and possibly Type 2 diabetes for people. This finding was recently published online in The FASEB Journal.

"Our study is a small step toward reducing the sufferings of obese and diabetic individuals to bring back the joy of healthy life," said M. Shawkat Razzaque, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Oral Medicine, Infection and Immunity at Harvard School of Dental Medicine in Boston. "In the dark horizon of obesity and diabetes, Klotho brings a ray of hope."

To make this discovery, Razzaque and colleagues fed increased amounts of food to leptin-deficient mice with the Klotho protein which caused obesity with high . A second set of mice was bred that was both leptin- and Klotho-deficient, and was fed the same diet as the first set. The second set of mice was lean and had low blood sugar levels, suggesting that reduced Klotho function may not only diminish obesity, but also decrease blood sugar levels. Furthermore, mice without Klotho function gained no body weight after eating a high-fat diet, while mice with functioning Klotho proteins gained body weight following a high-fat diet.

"In Greek mythology, Klotho was the youngest of three fates, the one responsible for spinning the thread of life; since then we have learned that cuts the thread short," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The . "It's good to know that the new molecular biology of Klotho points to agents that will keep us fit and well-spun."

More information: Mutsuko Ohnishi, Shigeko Kato, Junko Akiyoshi, Azeddine Atfi, and M. Shawkat Razzaque. Dietary and genetic evidence for enhancing glucose metabolism and reducing obesity by inhibiting klotho functions. FASEB J fj.10-167056; doi:10.1096/fj.10-167056

Related Stories

Recommended for you

How defeating THOR could bring a hammer down on cancer

December 14, 2017
It turns out Thor, the Norse god of thunder and the Marvel superhero, has special powers when it comes to cancer too.

Researchers track muscle stem cell dynamics in response to injury and aging

December 14, 2017
A new study led by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) describes the biology behind why muscle stem cells respond differently to aging or injury. The findings, published in Cell Stem Cell, ...

'Human chronobiome' study informs timing of drug delivery, precision medicine approaches

December 13, 2017
Symptoms and efficacy of medications—and indeed, many aspects of the human body itself—vary by time of day. Physicians tell patients to take their statins at bedtime because the related liver enzymes are more active during ...

Study confirms link between the number of older brothers and increased odds of being homosexual

December 12, 2017
Groundbreaking research led by a team from Brock University has further confirmed that sexual orientation for men is likely determined in the womb.

Potassium is critical to circadian rhythms in human red blood cells

December 12, 2017
An innovative new study from the University of Surrey and Cambridge's MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications, has uncovered the secrets of the circadian rhythms in ...

Time of day affects severity of autoimmune disease

December 12, 2017
Insights into how the body clock and time of day influence immune responses are revealed today in a study published in leading international journal Nature Communications. Understanding the effect of the interplay between ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Nikola
not rated yet Mar 11, 2011
OMFG! What about eating correctly and exercising instead of taking a pill with unknown side effects?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.