In an article published in “Diabetes”, a team from Imperial College London and Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust has used injections of oxyntomodulin, a naturally occurring digestive hormone found in the small intestine, to reduce body weight and calorific intake in overweight volunteers.
Professor Steve Bloom, senior researcher at Imperial College London and Hammersmith Hospital, says: "The discovery that oxyntomodulin can be effective in reducing weight could be an important step in tackling the rising levels of obesity in society. Not only is it naturally occurring, so it has virtually no side effects."
The injections boost existing levels of oxyntomodulin, normally released from the small intestine as food is consumed, signalling to the brain that the body is full and has had enough to eat.
The researchers found that over four weeks, injections of oxyntomodulin three times a day in 14 volunteers reduced their body weight by an average of 2.3kg. They also found that daily energy intake by the test group was reduced by an average of 170kcal after the first injection, to 250kcal at the end of four weeks. The researchers also found that volunteers in the study group had lesser appetites without a reduction in food palatability.
The team looked at 26 volunteers over a four week period in a double blind randomised trial. The treatment group of 14 self administered oxyntomodulin 30 minutes before each meal, three times a day, over a period of four weeks. The control group of twelve volunteers administered saline at the same frequency for the same period.
The study found that leptin, a protein responsible for regulating the body's energy expenditure was reduced in the study group. They also found reduced levels of adipose hormones, a hormone which encourages the build up of adipose tissues, a type of tissue where fat cells are stored.
MEDICA.de; Source: Imperial College, University of London