June 11, 2009
Prokineticin 2 Cuts Appetite In Mice

Sooner or later scientists will discover compounds that will make human appetite easily controllable. But once again mice get the cool new treatments first.

Researchers at Imperial College London have identified a new appetite suppressant for promoting weight loss that they say works in rodents and may one day be used to develop an effective anti-obesity treatment. Results of the new study were presented at The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The experimental treatment, prokineticin 2, is a recently discovered signaling molecule that occurs naturally in the part of the brain that helps control hunger. Both lean and obese mice treated with PK2 for 5 days lost almost 5 percent of their body weight, the authors reported.

"This is a greater weight loss than people achieve with current nonsurgical weight loss therapies," said study co-author Waljit Dhillo, a clinical senior lecturer at Imperial College London.

The researchers first dissolved a commercially available form of PK2 (from PeproTech Ltd.) in saline and injected it into the brain of 12 rats, which were allowed to eat as much as they wanted for 24 hours. Compared with 12 control rats that received only saline injections, the treated rats ate much less food; in the first hour alone, their food intake was 86 percent less.

The brain injection part isn't exactly appealing. But surely some appetite-cutting compounds will be able to travel via the blood. After all, appetite is influenced by the hormone ghrelin (secreted epsilon cells of the pancreas and P/D1 cells of the stomach) and leptin (secreted by adipose tissues). So the blood does contain compounds that make it into the brain.

While we are living in an era with a high prevalence of obesity we are nearing the end of that era. 20 years from now I expect obesity to be rare in developed countries as drugs that suppress appetite hit the market.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 June 11 11:25 PM  Brain Appetite

c.j. acworth said at June 13, 2009 3:05 PM:

"20 years from now I expect obesity to be rare as drugs to supress appitite hit the market"

You hope. People do not eat only when they are hungry, but for any number of other reasons, like stress, or to socialize. Also, we tend to eat too much of the wrong kinds of food. As a one who has struggled with his weight for years, I can testify that there is a lot more to weight control than just appitite control.

MARK said at June 13, 2009 10:19 PM:

It's really sad that we have to create meds/drugs for everything...it just shows you how lazy people are...A fucking eating suppressant drug...They need to invent a drug that makes people hold themselves accountable for their actions and bad decisions. A drug to control eating, I bet the side effects suck and the test results have been manipulated and some of the bad results covered up.. EAT BETTER, get off your fat ass and exercise, be mentally strong.

SW1 said at June 14, 2009 2:27 AM:

Mark: telling a fat person to be "mentally strong" and to just stop putting food in her mouth is about as useful advise as telling you to stop putting other men's johnsons in your mouth.

Jim said at June 14, 2009 5:04 AM:

SW1...you rule!!...Homo Mark is quite the hypocrite on this one!!

Rand Simberg said at June 14, 2009 8:14 AM:

I don't want to suppress my appetites. I like my appetites:

Maybe suppressing appetites is the future, but I hope not, at least for the immediate future. Id like to think that there are better redesigns of the body to prevent obesity. Because I like my appetite for food, and my appetite for other things, and if this is where technology is taking us, sign menot up.

Of course, with the current administration, which clearly wants to put the government in charge of our health care, and which will be looking for ways to reduce the cost of such, and obesity being viewed as one of the primary causes of health-care costs, dont expect that it will merely pay for appetite suppressants, brain injected or otherwise.
Expect them to be compulsory.
ZZMike said at June 14, 2009 2:44 PM:

Science is truly wonderful. We've cured quite a few diseases in mice, and now we can prevent mousal obesity. These are indeed great times for mice.

Another simple treament that might work on people is a protein that makes everything taste like Brussels Sprouts.

Mark said at June 14, 2009 7:09 PM:

I lost 30 pounds being disciplined and controlling my eating and being mentally strong. I was on a bad path to a bad way. I also quit smoking after doing it for 20 years by being mentally strong and being disciplined. No meds, no drugs. There is nothing hypocritical about that. The fact that we are allowing the drug companies to make drugs for us to fix the things we can fix ourselves, is where I have a problem. I have worked my arse off to fix my problems, never blaming anyone or anything else and holding my own self accountable for my actions. I don't think it's that hard to do. So, to say that telling an overweight person not to eat is unrealistic is totally untrue is bunk. I did it. The people who have the problems with weight definitely are responsible for their actions just like a drug addict or a smoker or porn addict is. We live in a society that promotes deflection of responsibility. So, as a former overweight smoker who kicked both with a lot of hard work and discipline and mental strength and NO DRUGS, I am proud of what I did, and I hate people who don't hold themselves accountable for what they do to themselves.

JAC said at June 15, 2009 10:19 AM:

Mark, the problem with your theory of just beign mentally strong is that there are in fact medical conditions that cause people to eat. One such, that unfortunately I am intimately familiar with is Prader-Willi Syndrome (my young son has this genetic syndrome). PWS is a genetic condition (a few genes are either missing or to avoid a lengthly explanation "defective") which causes people with the syndrome to always feel hungry (among various other metabolic complications of the syndrome); literally their brains/bodies give them the same signal you would get if you were famished, except they have that feeling all the time. No mental will can alter that; that would be like trying to tell a diabetic to have the mental will to change their insulin levels.

For people with PWS and other such medical conditions, findings such as this one give them and their families hope for a future with a some normalcy.

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