New anti-obesity compound has been accidentally discovered by scientists who were researching insulin resistance drug
Research team of scientists from the Centenary Institute and UNSW Sydney, Australia unexpectedly revealed a novel anti-obesity drug discovered in early animal tests that prevents animals from depositing and storing fat. The new research was published in the journal Nature Communications in August 2018.
The team was working on inhibition of insulin resistance, a key dysfunction that leads to a variety of metabolic diseases including type 2 diabetes. Enzymes called ceramide synthases was the primary target. Increased levels of these compounds are linked to the development of insulin resistance, and one enzyme in particular, ceramide synthase 1 (CerS1), was the main research target.
In the hopes of preventing insulin resistance the team developed a drug called P053, which was found to be highly specific in its ability to inhibit CerS1 activity. As a part of the experiment, the drug was tested in mice. Results showed that drug didn’t prevent the onset of insulin resistance, but instead exerted an anti-obesity effect. The mice tested were fed a high-fat diet designed to bring on a variety of metabolic diseases and the drug ultimately increased the animal’s ability to burn fat in skeletal muscles.
However, it is still unclear that how research will eventually lead to a specific anti-obesity drug, as these early animal tests often prove fruitless when transferred to human clinical cases. This is the very first time scientists have effectively demonstrated a new drug that can so specifically target and inhibit an enzyme in the ceramide synthase family.