MAR 16, 2020 9:43 PM PDT

Understanding How an Obesity-Treating Drug Functions

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Liraglutide is a drug targeted to help treat obesity by suppressing appetite, thus making the patient lose weight. However, up until now research has not determined the exact mechanisms of how this works.

"The goal is to produce even more weight loss treatments," said senior author Matthew R. Hayes, PhD, an associate professor of Psychiatry at Penn. "And this work takes us closer to fully realizing a better treatment strategy for obesity."

Learn more about obesity:

Now, a preclinical study done by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and published in Science Translational Medicine indicates that liraglutide crosses the brain's blood barrier and engaging with the region of the brainstem known as the nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS). It was found that NTS balances food intake and energy expenditure.

"This discovery opens up the door for future obesity drug treatments that could be used in conjunction with this FDA-approved therapy to treat obesity," says Hayes. "The more we understand how drugs act, the more we can understand what other brain systems can be manipulated in combination with them to help patients lose more weight."

Liraglutide interacts with glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors (GLP-1R) on GABA neurons (specific form of brain cells) that suppress hunger.

"We've narrowed in on the NTS to more fully understand how this site in the brain is critically important for body weight regulation," said first author Samantha M. Fortin, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow in Hayes' lab. "Our finding that GABA neurons in the NTS are important for the anorectic effects of liraglutide may prove to be meaningful in the future. Other compounds or genetic manipulations that would target this distinct population of cells in the brain could be useful in treating obesity."

Source: Science Daily

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
JAN 13, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JAN 13, 2020
Vaccine Against Alzheimer's to Hit Clinical Trials
Currently Alzheimer’s disease is thought to affect around 50 million people around the world, with this figure doubling every year. Currently with no...
FEB 21, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
FEB 21, 2020
New Antibiotics Found Using AI Technology
Using AI, researchers at MIT have found a powerful new antibiotic capable of killing some of the most dangerous drug-resistant bacteria known to man. ...
FEB 20, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
FEB 20, 2020
Antibiotics for Superbug Infections?
Antibiotics for superbug infections? A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims that a combination of compounds can ta...
FEB 27, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
FEB 27, 2020
New Drug Shows Promise in Treating Chronic Cough
Between 4% and 10% of adults around the world have an unexplainable chronic cough that has lasted for over 8 weeks. Although no treatments are currently av...
MAR 13, 2020
Immunology
MAR 13, 2020
Malaria drug treats lupus and prevents diabetes
A drug commonly used to treat certain types of malaria has been found to have some surprising synergistic effects: having an anti-inflammatory effect on lu...
MAR 08, 2020
Cancer
MAR 08, 2020
New treatment for triple-negative breast cancer
A new study led by scientists at the University of Sussex suggests an alternative treatment strategy for patients diagnosed with triple-negative breast can...
Loading Comments...