MAR 24, 2019 3:51 PM PDT

Synthetic Oxytocin for Obesity Treatment

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

According to recent research, the hormone oxytocin reduced the communication in different regions of the brain involved in the cognitive, sensory and emotional processing of food cues that are demonstrated in obese individuals when they look at high-calorie foods. The research may result in the production of a new drug—a synthetic nasal formulation of oxytocin for the treatment of obesity.

Oxytocin is a naturally occurring hormone known for its role in social bonding, childbirth and breastfeeding, it’s also critical for controlling food intake and weight. Previous research suggested that an oxytocin nasal spray, not yet approved in the United States, targeted brain pathways implicated in eating behavior which decreased food consumption in men.

"Knowing how the drug exerts its effects is a critical step toward establishing oxytocin as a drug treatment for overeating and obesity," said the study's lead investigator, Liya Kerem, M.D., M.Sc., a pediatric endocrinology fellow at MassGeneral Hospital for Children and a research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass. "This study is exciting because it shows that oxytocin modulates the pathways in the brain specifically during their responses to highly palatable, rewarding foods."

The study found that in comparison to a placebo, oxytocin weakened the functional connectivity involved in the effective coordination between neural systems in brain responding to a task. No side-effects were reported.

"Individuals with obesity, compared to lean people, have abnormally hyperactivated brain reward areas when viewing high-calorie food images, even when they are full, suggesting an explanation for the observed behavior of overeating and a potential target for treatment with medications such as oxytocin," Kerem said.

Source: medicalxpress.com

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
SEP 21, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
WHO Endorses Clinical Trials for Herbal Medicines to Treat COVID-19
SEP 21, 2020
WHO Endorses Clinical Trials for Herbal Medicines to Treat COVID-19
The World Health Organization has endorsed a protocol to put African herbal medicines through clinical trials as possibl ...
OCT 15, 2020
Neuroscience
Neurometabolism: A bold, new frontier
OCT 15, 2020
Neurometabolism: A bold, new frontier
Billions of neurons communicate with each other through trillions of synapses to create a functioning, unique system we ...
OCT 21, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Experimental Vaccine Shows Promise in Halting Alzheimer's
OCT 21, 2020
Experimental Vaccine Shows Promise in Halting Alzheimer's
In a preclinical study, researchers from the Univerity of South Florida have found that a vaccine that targets neurotoxi ...
OCT 27, 2020
Cardiology
Boron Could Prevent Myocardial Fibrosis and Assist in Recovery
OCT 27, 2020
Boron Could Prevent Myocardial Fibrosis and Assist in Recovery
When you pass by the nutrition section at the local grocery store, there is a chance you’ll come across row upon r ...
OCT 20, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
The Power of Extracellular Vesicles
OCT 20, 2020
The Power of Extracellular Vesicles
What are extracellular vesicles (EVs)? They are tiny nanometer sized messengers that transport themselves between cells ...
NOV 06, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Anti-depressant Shows Promise in Treating Childhood Cancer
NOV 06, 2020
Anti-depressant Shows Promise in Treating Childhood Cancer
Researchers from Sweden and the US have found that a commonly prescribed antidepressant may help stop the growth of a ca ...
Loading Comments...