Obesity and diabetes are among the fastest growing health problems in the world, and the hunt is in for a pill that can fight the problem. Now a Danish/British team has come up with a smart tool that will speed up the scientific hunting process, and we may be one step closer to a pill against obesity.
The body has a variety of functions that decide if we get overweight or not. For instance hormones control our appetite and the uptake of food. In recent years science has taken on the quest of investigating these physiological functions and finding a medical way to fight obesity.
One way that has attracted scientific interest is to work with a special protein, that can stimulate different physiological activities such as the production of appetite controlling hormones and hormones that control the intestinal uptake of food.
The particular protein is found in the cell membranes in intestines, in immune cells and in fat, and it is called FFA4. The protein is activated by long-chain free fatty acids released from the food such as omega-3 fatty acids. When this happens, it releases hormones that inhibit our appetite and increase sugar uptake from the blood.
Molecules can activate proteins, so the job is “just” to find the right molecule.
“We have developed a computer model of FFA4 that can help us to select the correct molecules for synthesis by first testing if they bind in the computer model. This way we can test thousands of molecules in a very short time before going into the laboratory. This will speed up the process of finding the right compounds that can be developed to efficient drugs against obesity or diabetes”, says postdoc Bharat Shimpukade from Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy at University of Southern Denmark. The model has been confirmed and refined by detailed experimental studies.
“I have been looking for a couple of months now, and I hope to be able to continue till I find the perfect molecule that can lead to a new cure”, says Bharat Shimpukade.
Source: Medical News Today.
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