The weight-loss compound, called Celastrol, produces its potent effects by enhancing the action of an appetite-suppressing hormone called leptin. The findings are an early indicator that Celastrol could be developed into a drug for the treatment of obesity, researchers said.

"During the last two decades, there has been an enormous amount of effort to treat obesity by breaking down leptin resistance, but these efforts have failed," said senior study author Umut Ozcan, an endocrinologist at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
    
"The message from this study is that there is still hope for making leptin work, and there is still hope for treating  obesity.
    
"If Celastrol works in humans as it does in mice, it could be a powerful way to treat obesity and improve the health of many patients suffering from obesity and associated complications, such as heart disease, fatty liver, and type 2 diabetes," said Ozcan.
    
Leptin is a fat-cell-derived hormone that signals to the brain when the body has enough fuel and energy. The study was published in the journal Cell.

 

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