Researchers at the University of Southampton have created a molecule named ‘compound 14’ that has been shown to trick your bodies cells into thinking that they have undergone a large amount of exercise.
The hope is that this compound will be able to eliminate the need for diet and exercise in the future, with the aim to cut our current obesity crisis that is blighting our healthcare services.
How does this molecule work?
Compound 14 has been shown the suppress the function of ATIC, a cellular enzyme that can affect your metabolism.
When the compound is present in the body, an increase in the production of the molecule ZMP will be noticed, which makes your cells believe that they are running out of energy.
This then causes your body to try and compensate for this by activating your central energy sensor (known as AMPK), which causes an increase in both glucose uptake and your metabolism, a process that you would usually experience during exercise.
Ali Tavassoli, Professor of Chemical Biology at the University of Southampton had this to say about the compound:
“Our molecule, which activates AMPK by altering cellular metabolism, therefore holds much promise as a potential therapeutic agent.”
Dr Felino Cagampang, Associate Professor in Integrative Physiology at the University of Southampton and the study’s co-author had this to say:
“This new molecule seems to reduce glucose levels and at the same time decrease body weight, but only if the subject is obese.”
What kind of research has been undertaken?
During the research obese mice were given a single dose of the compound, as well as a single dose to mice of a healthy weight.
Those mice who were a healthy weight saw no changes, however the obese mice saw a noticeable drop in their blood glucose levels (down to near-normal levels).
These obese mice also saw a 5% drop in their total body weight after being administered the compound over a week.
What does the future hold?
While these results are certainly promising it is still early days, with only the tests on mice being the only proof that this compound works.
In the future if human trial are successful then perhaps we will see a solution to our obesity problems, until then more traditional methods will still need to be continued.