Scientists identify a compound that help mice to lose weight

An internal timer in our body, known as body clock or circadian clock, controls key biological processes. If the body clock goes wrong, certain diseases like metabolic syndrome may occur. (Cusabio offers protein, gene, kit and antibody.

According to a new study from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, boosting the body clock could help to protect against metabolic syndrome. The study was published in Cell Metabolism.

Metabolic syndrome can increase the risk of many disorders, such as heart disease. Previous studies indicated that patients with metabolic syndrome are more likely to have weaker body clocks.

In order to find molecules that enhance the body clock, the research group investigated approximately 5,000 compounds. They successfully identified a clock-enhancing compound, called Nobiletin, which is isolated from citrus peels. Citrus peels are a common food and it is also used in medicine. However, we know little about their mechanisms.

The group conducted mice experiments to see whether boosting the body clock could reduce obesity, which is a hallmark of metabolic disease. They observed a dramatic 4o percent decrease in excess weight in mice that received Nobiletin. Additionally, in mice with a normal clock, Nobiletin helped to lose weight by elevating activity level and improving energy expenditure.

Furthermore, the study uncovered that Nobiletin attaches to the body clock receptor, called retinoid acid receptor-related orphan receptors (RORs). These findings could improve the treatment of many disorders associated with a weakened body clock. The researchers noted that they now had both the drug and the protein it targets.

Diet and weight loss surgery are often recommended for the care of metabolic syndrome. The new drug amplifies the biological rhythms of metabolic genes to the extent that the animals burn more fuel and store less fuel. But whether the drug would also works in humans remains unknown.