Obesity and diabetes are major health problems worldwide and lead to various health problems such as heart disease and stroke.
Although bariatric surgery is a long-term solution for weight loss and diabetes remission, it is not for everyone and carries risks.
Researchers are currently exploring a new class of compounds that could provide similar benefits to gastric bypass surgery without the need for invasive surgery.
A recent study from Queen Mary University of London shows the potential of injectable compounds that reduce weight and lower blood sugar levels in laboratory animals by mimicking the effects of surgery without the side effects associated with current weight-loss and anti-diabetic drugs.
Mimicking the benefits of surgery
The active ingredients mimic the long-term benefits of surgery, which involves changes in the levels of gut secretions of certain hormones that signal a feeling of fullness, suppress appetite and normalize blood sugar.
Existing drugs that aim to reproduce these effects primarily activate cellular glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptors, but often cause side effects that some people cannot tolerate.
To address this problem, researchers have developed treatments that interact with multiple types of gut hormone receptors.
The promise of GEP44
Researchers at Queen Mary University of London have developed a peptide called GEP44 that activates two receptors for peptide YY (PYY) and the GLP-1 receptor.
In obese rats, GEP44 led to a significant reduction in food intake and an average weight loss of 12% in just 16 days.
Importantly, GEP44 showed no signs of nausea or vomiting in tests on rats and shrews, unlike the approved drug liraglutide.
The compound also increased energy expenditure, resulting in higher exercise, heart rate, or body temperature. Researchers have developed a peptide with a longer half-life that requires fewer injections per week.
Additional benefits and future research
As well as reducing food intake, GEP44 lowers blood sugar levels by pulling glucose into muscle tissue and converting certain cells in the pancreas into insulin-producing cells.
It also reduces opioid cravings and offers potential addiction treatment benefits. Researchers have filed patents on their compounds and plan to conduct primate studies to further investigate their effectiveness.
They will also examine the compounds’ effects on gene expression and the brain, and provide insights into their possible uses and other types of drugs.
The development of injectable compounds that mimic the benefits of gastric bypass surgery represents a significant advance in weight loss and the management of diabetes.
Research conducted at Queen Mary University of London demonstrates the effectiveness of GEP44 in reducing weight and improving glucose control without the side effects associated with current medications.
This research has the potential to provide a safe, effective and accessible alternative to bariatric surgery for individuals struggling with obesity and diabetes.
Continued research and testing in primates will provide valuable insight into the long-term efficacy of the compounds and pave the way for future human clinical trials.
If you are passionate about losing weight, please read studies on how to lose weight through exercise and the myths about foods to lose weight you need to know.
For more information on healthy weight, see recent studies on anti-obesity medications, which may help both younger and older people lose weight. The results show that popular weight loss diets can be too expensive.
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