Metabolic syndrome is a clustering of certain metabolic-related heart disease risk factors including obesity, and has become one of the greatest health problems worldwide. Effective therapies to treat obesity and metabolic syndrome are urgently needed but are currently lacking. In a study appearing online on March 10 in advance of publication in the April 1 print edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Bei Zhang and colleagues from Merck Research Laboratories demonstrate a new therapeutic approach to treat obesity and metabolic syndrome.
The researchers block stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 (SCD1) – a protein that regulates the synthesis of fats in the blood – by using specific small molecules to interfere with synthesis of SCD1 in liver cells and in mice. Inhibiting SCD1 decreased body fat, and prevented obesity and development of metabolic syndrome. Blocking SCD1 also increased expression of genes involved in energy expenditure.
The results aid in our understanding of the role of SCD1 in metabolism and validate SCD1 as a potential target for pharmacological intervention for obesity and related metabolic disorders.
Source: Eurekalert & othersLast reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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