Washington: Scientists have recently found a new hormone that may help cure obesity without putting too much effort in exercising.
Scientists at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology have discovered a new hormone, dubbed "MOTS-c," that fights the weight gain caused by a high-fat Western diet and normalizes the metabolism, effects commonly associated with exercising.
Hormones are molecules that act as the body's signals, triggering various physiological responses. The hormone primarily targets muscle tissue, where it restores insulin sensitivity, counteracting diet-induced and age-dependent insulin resistance.
To test the effects of MOTS-c, the team injected the hormone into mice fed a high-fat diet, which typically causes them to grow obese and develop a resistance to insulin. The injections not only suppressed both effects in mice, they also reversed age-dependent insulin-resistance, a condition that precedes diabetes.
MOTS-c is unique among hormones in that it was encoded in the DNA of mitochondria, the "powerhouses" of cells that convert food into energy. Other hormones are encoded in DNA in the nucleus.
Changhan Lee, assistant professor at USC Davis, said that the study sheds new light on mitochondria and positions them as active regulators of metabolism.