An antitumor drug against obesity?

Obesity is a global health problem. One of the most recurrent therapeutic strategies is that which proposes to stop the expansion of adipose tissue (body fat) at the moment when the precursor stem cells proliferate and transform into fat cells. The S6K1 protein plays an indispensable role in this process.

A study conducted by the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), located in Hospitalet de Llobregat and part of the CERCA institution of the Government of Catalonia, together with the Biomedical Research Institute of Girona (IDIBGI), has evaluated the effects of a drug that inhibits the activity of the S6K1 protein to determine its therapeutic potential in the treatment of obesity.

The research results show that mice fed a very high fat diet and treated with this antitumor agent, tosylated LY3584703, had, compared to mice that were not treated with the drug, a lower body weight, a quantity less accumulated fat and smaller adipocytes (predilection cell for fatty deposits).

In addition, the beneficial effect has been observed in other disorders typically associated with obesity, such as hepatic steatosis or dyslipidemia (excess cholesterol or triglycerides in the blood): “another very interesting effect is that the drug manages to attenuate the accumulation of fat in the liver, and also that it reduces hypertriglyceridemia, the excess of triglycerides circulating in the blood”, explains Dr. Francisco José Ortega, principal investigator of the IDIBGI Nutrition research group, eumetabolism and health and the Center for Biomedical Research in Pathophysiology of Obesity and Nutrition Network (CIBEROBN) in Spain, who led this work.

“These results show that the oral administration of a compound directed specifically against the S6K1 protein can improve the obese phenotype and the comorbidities generally associated with this condition”, concludes Dr. Ortega.

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Mouse fat cells (in red) and blood vessels (in green). (Photo: Daniela Malide/NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)

This study is part of the line of research developed twenty years ago by Dr. Sara Kozma and Dr. George Thomas, both IDIBELL researchers. These researchers have shown that mice that do not have the gene responsible for the S6K1 protein can eat a lot without gaining weight or suffering from metabolic problems.

In addition to IDIBELL and IDIBGI, researchers from Cardiff University and Newcastle University, both in the UK, as well as the University Hospital of Regensburg (Germany) and the Institute for Medical Research of the Minerva Foundation (Finland) .

The study is titled “A Compound Against S6K1 Impairs Fat Mass Expansion and Attenuates Diet-Induced Hepatosteatosis.” And it was published in the academic journal JCI Insights. (Source: IDIBELL)

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