Twice lasts better: New combination of active substances against diabetes and excessive obesity
According to experts, more and more overweight people live in Germany. And the number of diabetes patients has also increased massively for years. Researchers are now reporting on a new combination therapy for obesity and the so-called diabetes. This curbs appetite and at the same time increases energy consumption.
Increase in obesity and diabetes
More and more people are too fat: Obesity (obesity) has long been a widespread disease that is favored by various factors. In addition to a lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet, often combined with excessive appetite, is particularly noteworthy. Those who weigh too much also have a higher risk of developing diabetes. With a new combination therapy for obesity and the so-called diabetes, the problems could be better managed in the future.
Allow excess fat to melt
"Obesity is the biggest risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases," explains Prof. Dr. h.c. Matthias H. Tschöp, scientific director of the Helmholtz Zentrum München and holder of the chair for metabolic diseases at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in a message.
"Unfortunately, the increasing obesity problem cannot be managed by diet alone, which is why medicinal therapeutic approaches are essential," added Tschöp, who was previously director of the Institute for Diabetes and Obesity (IDO) at the center.
That's why, together with Dr. Timo Müller (acting director of the IDO), Dr. Christoffer Clemmensen (formerly IDO) and Sigrid Jall (PhD student at IDO) developed a new strategy.
With a new combination therapy, the researchers have succeeded in melting excess fat deposits by simultaneously curbing appetite and increasing energy expenditure.
The study results were recently published in the journal "Nature Communications".
The new therapy comes from nature
As stated in a joint press release by the Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Technical University of Munich (TUM), partners in the German Center for Diabetes Research, the new combination therapy is based on nature.
“It has long been known that we use more energy when we are in a cold environment. The body then tries to maintain body temperature, ”explains Clemmensen.
Mammals like humans have special - so-called brown - fat cells, which specialize in converting energy into heat.
A key mechanism in this process is based on the activation of special cold receptors (Trpm8 channels), which transmit the cold signal to the brown adipose tissue.
One component of the new combination of active ingredients, the molecule cilin (derived from the English word 'ice'), aims to produce exactly this effect.
"Icilin activates Trpm8 channels and thus leads to an increase in energy turnover, but without having to go into a cold environment," explains Sigrid Jall.
According to the researchers, drug activation of Trpm8 in obese mice led to activation of brown adipose tissue; energy turnover increased and body weight decreased.
Fight the feeling of hunger
The second component of the drug combination aimed to curb appetite and thus reduce food intake.
Here, the scientists used a molecule that, like nicotine, responds to so-called nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) in the brain. These receptors are located on special nerve cells in the hypothalamus.
When activated, this leads to an increased feeling of satiety and the appetite decreases.
In their experiments, however, the researchers did not use the toxic nicotine to activate the receptors, but the more harmless but much more specific dimethylphenylpiperazine (DMPP).
Again in obese mice, DMPP not only leads to a reduction in food intake, but also to a significant improvement in sugar metabolism.
Combination works better than individual treatment
The experts made a particularly important discovery in their experiments: The combination of Icilin and DMPP reduced body weight and improved sugar metabolism far more than if the effects of the individual treatment of Icilin and DMPP were simply added up.
Treatment with cilin or DMPP alone had only minor effects on body weight.
"However, if you combine both treatments in a single therapy, your body weight and sugar metabolism are sustainably improved, an important gain in knowledge for the development of new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of obesity and diabetes," says Matthias Tschöp.
In further experiments, the researchers are now trying to find out why the combination of the two molecules works so much better than the individual substances.
"The results of these studies can provide important new insights into how molecules mutually reinforce each other, which could significantly improve the development of future therapies," says Timo Müller in conclusion. (ad)