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
SEP 29, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Cycling Molecules into Drug Candidates
SEP 29, 2020
Cycling Molecules into Drug Candidates
Statistics show that just 1 in 5,000 drug candidates ever makes it from the lab to the pharmacy. In a process that can t ...
SEP 27, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
How Spiders May Open a Path to IBS Treatment
SEP 27, 2020
How Spiders May Open a Path to IBS Treatment
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is term that describes a gut disorder that causes abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea or c ...
SEP 27, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
THC Shows Promise in Treating Severe Cases of COVID-19
SEP 27, 2020
THC Shows Promise in Treating Severe Cases of COVID-19
Over the last few months, various headlines have emerged suggesting the potential for cannabinoids, and in particular, c ...
OCT 10, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Fishnet of Nanoparticles Traps Drug Molecules
OCT 10, 2020
Fishnet of Nanoparticles Traps Drug Molecules
‘Fishnet’ Nanoparticles Traps Drug Molecules A team at Northwestern University have casted a net of nanopart ...
NOV 20, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments Reverse Aging
NOV 20, 2020
Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments Reverse Aging
Researchers from Israel have found that hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) in healthy aging adults can prevent blood ce ...
NOV 26, 2020
Cardiology
Possible Cardioprotective Effects of the Diabetes Drug Empagliflozin
NOV 26, 2020
Possible Cardioprotective Effects of the Diabetes Drug Empagliflozin
Cardiovascular disease and diabetes are often associated with each other, as many issues caused by diabetes promote hear ...
Loading Comments...