Scientists have produced an artificial hormone that causes rapid weight loss in mice. Previous studies have suggested that single treatments for obesity cannot reduce weight by more than 5-10%. While surgery remains the closest thing we have to a cure, this is very invasive. So many studies are looking at ways of using hormones to reduce weight.
Researchers combined the sequences of two hormones (glucagon and glucagon-like peptide-1) to produce a synthetic molecule that activates multiple receptors. The two hormones are similar in structure, but have different functions. Their potential is the subject of current obesity research after scientists showed they can increase the use of calories by the body.
After just a week on the new hormone, the mice lost a quarter of their weight and their fat mass reduced by over a third. Follow-up tests after a month showed even greater loss – reductions of nearly a third and over two thirds respectively.
The technique of activating multiple receptors in a single treatment could prove to be a more potent treatment, opening up a whole new way of thinking about the way we treat of obesity.