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GIP Hormone - Weight Loss Drug Treatment to Reduce Obesity

A hormone secreted by the intestine after a high-fat meal may be a likely target for anti-obesity drugs in the future, preliminary study findings suggest.

The hormone is called gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP) and researchers in Japan have bred mice that lack a receptor for the hormone. These mice did not gain weight when they were fed a high-fat diet and did not develop insulin resistance--a precursor to type 2 diabetes that often occurs in obese individuals, according to a report in the June 17 advance online publication of Nature Medicine.

In comparison, normal mice fed a high-fat diet churned out high levels of GIP and also accumulated fat pads around their internal organs and under the skin, the report indicates.

Insulin is the hormone responsible for depositing glucose (sugar) from the blood into every cell in the body, to use as fuel. People who are overweight can grow resistant to the hormone. As a result, high levels of both insulin and glucose accumulate in the blood, increasing the risk of diabetes.

The researchers, led by Dr. Yutaka Seino from Kyoto University, found that mice bred to lack the GIP receptor and the so-called obesity hormone, leptin, were even slimmer than mice lacking only the receptor. Leptin, a hormone released by fat cells, is thought to notify the brain to curb its appetite when fat cells are full.

It seems that mice that lack the receptor tend to burn dietary fat as fuel, rather than stockpiling it in fat cells, according to Seino and colleagues. The findings suggest that GIP plays a role in obesity and "is a potential target for anti-obesity drugs," the study authors conclude.

Source: Nature Medicine

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