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article imageNew toxin could help tackle obesity

By Tim Sandle     Jun 1, 2013 in Science
Irvine - Scientists have shown that a synthetic peptide derived from a sea anemone toxin has potentially potent weight-regulating effects in relation to obesity.
Researcher have used a slightly modified synthetic version of a peptide found in the toxin of Caribbean sun anemones for studies on obesity in mice. The research has shown that the toxin can boosts metabolic activity in obese mice fed a junk-food diet.
The identified peptide from the sea anemone has been described as Shk-186. The identified toxin is now currently being looked at as a promising drug candidate for the treatment of several autoimmune diseases. The latest research means that the toxin could now be developed as a potential treatment for obesity and insulin resistance in humans.
As outlined in the research brief, when tested on mice fed a high-fat, high-sugar diet, treatment with ShK-186 reduced weight gain, white fat deposits, fatty liver, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar.
What Shk-186 appears to do is to block the Kv1.3 potassium channel on T-lymphocyte cells. Kv1.3 is thought to have a role in regulating metabolic rate and body weight. Therefore targeting this part of the body's biochemistry is an area of research interest.
The research was undertaken by George Chandy of the University of California, Irvine, and the findings have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
More about Obesity, Toxin, Peptide, Sea anemone
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