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Synthetic peptide acts on endocannabinoid system to combat obesity

Date: 11.7.2022 

An international team of researchers experimenting with the function of the endocannabinoid system have shown how it can be manipulated to combat obesity with the help of a synthetic peptide. The studies carried out on mice demonstrate how the treatment can prevent weight gain and keep diabetes at bay even on high-fat diets, and that it has the capacity to convert white fat into a more desirable brown form.

Kredit: Pet4354 / Wikimedia Commons.The influence of the endocannabinoid system also extends to our metabolism, impacting our appetite, the way we break down fat and our energy expenditure. Scientists have been exploring ways this system might be manipulated to counter obesity and its many related effects on our health, and one promising approach concerns a peptide called Pep19.

This is a synthetic and chemically identical version of a peptide that occurs naturally in human cells, but by delivering it in higher doses scientists have shown in animal trials it can benefit metabolic health without any adverse effects on the central nervous system.

In the new study, scientists in Brazil, Spain and Israel treated 50 mice with the peptide across 30 days, half of which were fed a standard diet and the other half a high-fat diet. Despite this unhealthy eating regime, the latter group put on little weight and showed reduced resistance to insulin, a hallmark of type 2 diabetes. The peptide also reduced inflammation, fattiness and signs of damage in the liver.

Interestingly, the team found that it also transformed some of the fat in the mice. White fat is the undesirable type that stores excess energy, and the scientists found the peptide was transforming some of this into brown fat, which helps us stay lean by burning calories to generate heat and keep us warm.





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