A new study offers the first evidence that a protein called BAM15 acts as an energy decoupler and could be an effective drug for the treatment of obesity and related diseases.
Obesity affects more than 650 million people worldwide and leads to a number of dangerous health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and more than a dozen fatal cancers. Global spending on obesity treatment and obesity-related diseases is well over $ 150 billion a year.
“Even so, only a handful of drugs are currently FDA approved for the treatment of obesity, and the people taking these drugs rarely achieve long-term weight loss,” said John Kirwan, Ph.D., executive director of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“To stop the obesity epidemic, new, more effective drugs are needed. This research is a promising step in the discovery process. We hope that in the not too distant future, BAM15 or related compounds will advance clinical drug development and become a viable treatment option for patients with obesity. “
BAM15 is different from existing weight loss drugs, which work primarily by reducing the amount of food a person eats or the calories their body takes in. BAM15 works by making the mitochondria, the power plants of the cell, less efficient. The result is that the mitochondria burn more energy.
Researchers believe that BAM15 can be used to treat a number of health conditions, including diabetes, fatty liver disease, and some forms of cancer.
In the new study, Pennington Biomedical scientists show for the first time that mice given BAM15 are resistant to weight gain by burning more calories than their untreated counterparts. Further advantages of BAM15 are:
- Reducing blood sugar and insulin levels regardless of weight loss.
- Improving skeletal muscle sensitivity to the effects of insulin. Skeletal muscle resistance to insulin is a major risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.
- Reduce overall fat accumulation by preventing fat accumulation in the liver, kidney and blood. The accumulation of too much fat in the liver, kidneys, or blood can damage organs and lead to heart disease.
The study “BAM15-Mediated Mitochondrial Decoupling Protects Against Obesity and Improves Blood Sugar Control” was published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.
Reference: “BAM15-Mediated Mitochondrial Decoupling Protects Against Obesity and Improves Blood Sugar Control” by Christopher L. Axelrod, William T. King, Gangarao Davuluri, Robert C. Noland, Jacob Hall, Michaela Hull, Wagner S. Dantas, Elizabeth RM Zunica, Stephanie J. Alexopoulos, Kyle L. Hoehn, Ingeborg Langohr, Krisztian Stadler, Haylee Doyle, Eva Schmidt, Stephan Nieuwoudt, Kelly Fitzgerald, Kathryn Pergola, Hisashi Fujioka, Jacob T. Mey, Ciaran Fealy, Anny Mulya, Robbie Beyl, Charles L Hoppel and John P. Kirwan, June 10, 2020, EMBO Molecular Medicine.
DOI: 10.15252 / emmm.202012088