19 December 2011

Antibodies against diabetes and obesity

A way to cure diabetes with one injection has been foundKirill Stasevich, Compulenta

Don't you believe it? Nevertheless, researchers have created antibodies that activate brown adipose tissue, which, in turn, promotes fat burning and normalization of blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.

A cell of brown adipose tissue surrounded by capillaries (photo by Prof. S. Cinti).

Specialists from Genetech, Inc. (USA) report in an article published in the journal Science Translational Medicine (Wu et al., Amelioration of Type 2 Diabetes by Antibody-Mediated Activation of Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 1) that diabetes can soon be treated with a single injection. So, in any case, it follows from the results of their work. On the other hand, even if this does not lead to an early victory over diabetes, the data obtained by the researchers are of considerable interest from a scientific and practical point of view.

It is known that type 2 diabetes is associated with severe metabolic disorders: the inability of cells to absorb glucose from the blood, fat deposits leading to excess weight, and others. At the same time, there are two types of fat in our body – white, which provides us with excess weight, and brown, which burns lipids with the formation of heat and thus participates in thermoregulation. For a long time it was believed that brown fat is only in infants, until in 2009 it was also found in adults. Almost immediately, scientists began to argue that it would be nice to learn how to treat diabetes with the help of brown fat. If you activate this metabolic blast furnace, you can easily get rid of excess weight and other unpleasant things associated with this disease.

That's why the researchers turned to the hormone FGF21 (fibroblast growth factor 21). It has been shown that it activates brown adipose tissue cells, reduces the amount of fat-triglycerides in the blood and normalizes sugar levels. However, FGF21 did all this in mice; attempts to regulate human metabolism with its help were unsuccessful: FGF21 disappeared from the bloodstream too quickly to have time to produce any noticeable effect.

Genetech scientists decided not to bind to FGF21 itself, but to act on cellular receptors tuned to this protein. And they acted, and in a rather ingenious way: with the help of antibodies against these receptors. Usually, antibodies in biotechnology are used to suppress the work of a molecule, enzyme, receptor, etc. But then, with the help of some trick, scientists created antibodies that activated this very receptor to FGF21. The results exceeded all expectations: a single injection of these antibodies kept the sugar level in diabetic mice normal for a month, and this without any side effects (except for the weight loss of experimental animals by 10%).

In short, we can only look forward to the start of clinical trials of antidiabetic miracle antibodies.

Prepared based on the materials of Medical Xpress: Antibody injection promising for diabetes and obesity.

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