Thursday, November 10, 2005
Can’t fit through the rat cage door? Obese rats of the world, rejoice. Scientists have developed a hormone that when injected can cut a rat’s appetite in half.
The new-found hormone, named obestatin, offers hope, scientists say, of battling the obesity epidemic in humans as well. Scientists discovered the hormone while experimenting with another one named ghrelin, which stimulates hunger. They discovered even when they removed the ghrelin, their subjects’ appetites were unaffected. That is when they discovered that the same gene that produces ghrelin produces obestatin, an appetite supressor.
In contrast to ghrelin, which causes hyperphagia (overeating) and obesity in rats, obestatin appears to act as an "anorexic hormone" by decreasing food intake and slowing "gastric emptying" — meaning food stays in the stomach longer, according to the study, published in today’s issue of the journal Science.
Obestatin also slowed muscle contraction in the gut. “If your intestines do not really move adequately, you feel full,” lead author Jian Zhang, a professor of reproductive biology at Stanford University School of Medicine told reporters during a teleconference this week.
After eight days of treatment, adult male rats injected with a synthetic version of obestatin ate about half as much as the untreated ones and lost 20 per cent of their body weight, or about one gram.
I dunno about those rat-testings, folks.