Protein Discovered as Potential Treatment for Obesity

June 16, 2020 | Biotechnology

Reading time: 2 minutes

GEN published an interesting article covering Biotechnology:

Obesity affects millions worldwide and drives health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and many cancers. Now researchers from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA, reported they have discovered BAM15, a protein that can be used as a potential treatment for obesity and its related diseases.

Their study, “BAM15‐mediated mitochondrial uncoupling protects against obesity and improves glycemic control,” is published in EMBO Molecular Medicine.

Currently available pharmacotherapy regimens rarely achieve weight loss of greater than 10% or provide patients with long-term weight control. An alternative approach to decreasing food intake or absorption is to decrease metabolic efficiency. Small molecule mitochondrial protonophore uncouplers decrease mitochondrial coupling efficiency resulting in increased nutrient oxidation to produce a given amount of ATP. The mitochondrial uncoupler 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP) has been shown to have weight-loss effects in humans. However, DNP has a narrow window between effective and toxic doses.

“Obesity is a leading cause of preventable death worldwide. Despite this, current strategies for the treatment of obesity remain ineffective at achieving long‐term weight control. This is due, in part, to difficulties in identifying tolerable and efficacious small molecules or biologics capable of regulating systemic nutrient homeostasis. Here, we demonstrate that BAM15, a mitochondrially targeted small molecule protonophore, stimulates energy expenditure and glucose and lipid metabolism to protect against diet‐induced obesity,” the researchers wrote.

“Halting the obesity epidemic requires new, more effective medications. This research represents a very promising step in the discovery process. We hope that in the not-too-distant future, BAM15 or related compounds will advance to clinical drug development and... More of this in the GEN Blog.

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