Washington: A new study has demonstrated that a molecule found in some plants can combat weight gain induced by a high-fat diet but only in female mices.
The research has shown that female mice treated with 7,8-DHF could consume a high-fat diet without gaining weight. In the mice, 7,8-DHF could increase energy expenditure by acting on muscle cells, without suppressing appetite.
Emory researchers led by Keqiang Ye, PhD, said that an equivalent diet pill in humans would allow people to maintain a healthy weight, despite a high-fat diet and the pill would burn calories without affecting appetite.
Ye's laboratory has been studying brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor TrkB. Previous research has shown that BDNF is secreted after physical exercise. Lack of BDNF is also thought to play a role in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. However, BDNF degrades quickly in the body. Ye and his colleagues discovered 7,8-DHF while looking for ways to activate TrkB with drugs in the absence of BDNF.
Ye said that this drug has been tested in a variety of neurological diseases and exhibits promising efficacy in both male and female animal models and further investigation was necessary to explore why it selectively burned fat in the female mice.
The study will be published in the journal Chemistry and Biology.