Study Reveals Plant Extracts That May Tackle Obesity

Dec, 2021 - By WMR

Study Reveals Plant Extracts That May Tackle Obesity

A new study revealed that mitochondrial dysfunction in mice showed a potential new treatment target for obesity.

Obesity affects human body in several ways through reduced endurance in skeletal muscle, and impaired metabolism. However, the mechanism behind this decline in body health is not yet discovered. A team of scientists from the University of Hong Kong (HKU) revealed that mitochondria dysfunction in mice showed a potential treatment target for obesity. The study published in the journal Autophagy on October 2021, investigated the reason behind slower rate of fat metabolism in obese patients. As per the scientists, this could be due to dysfunction of mitochondria.

In this new study, the scientists conducted experiments on engineered mice to study the effects of obesity on skeletal muscles. For this they deleted the gene for a protein known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which plays an important role in maintaining neurons. With these tests, the team found that obesity reduced the amount of BDNF in the muscle tissue of mice. Moreover, they also observed that mice who didn’t have BDNF in their muscle tissue gained body weight more rapidly and their insulin resistance increased when they were fed a high-fat diet. They also showed lower energy expenditure.

When the team searched for the reason behind these effects of BDNF, they found that the mitochondria in the mice that lacked BDNF couldn’t recycle materials as normal, which meant that obese mice exhibited built up damaged mitochondria in the tissues, disturbing the lipids metabolism and sensitivity to insulin. In further research, the team investigated a naturally found flavone in a plant Godmania aesculifolia known as 7,8-dihydroxyflavone that imitates BDNF, which in past research was found to be an effective agent to reduce body weight and to improve sensitivity to insulin in obese mice. Hence, these recent findings add further knowledge to the concept of BDNF being an effective tool to deal obesity in humans.

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