Health & Wellbeing

"Compound 14" mimics the effects of exercise without setting foot in the gym

"Compound 14" mimics the effec...
A newly developed molecule has been found to mimic the effects of exercise, including weight loss and improved glucose tolerance in mice
A newly developed molecule has been found to mimic the effects of exercise, including weight loss and improved glucose tolerance in mice
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A newly developed molecule has been found to mimic the effects of exercise, including weight loss and improved glucose tolerance in mice
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A newly developed molecule has been found to mimic the effects of exercise, including weight loss and improved glucose tolerance in mice

Enjoying the health benefits of a back-breaking workout without actually working out sure is a tantalizing prospect. This goes a long way to explaining the torrent of exercise equipment that promises to do more for our figures with less of our sweat and tears, and recently, the development of drugs that could imitate the beneficial effects of exercise. The latest advance in this area is the development of a molecule that mimics the effects of exercise by influencing the metabolic process, giving it the potential to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity.

The scientists at the University of Southampton who developed the molecule initially set out to target the central energy sensor in cells called AMPK. Pointing to previous research, the team believed that if a small molecule could be used to selectively activate AMPK, it could boost the uptake of glucose and oxygen in the cells by mimicking the effects of exercise.

The small molecule, dubbed "compound 14", works by inhibiting the function of a cellular enzyme involved in metabolism called ATIC. This causes an accumulation of another molecule in the cells called ZMP, which tricks the cells into acting as if they are running out of energy, kicking AMPK into action to trigger the cells to increase glucose uptake and metabolism.

Compound 14 was given to two sets of mice, with one group fed a regular diet and the other fed high-fat foods so as to make them obese and intolerant to glucose, a symptom of pre-diabetes. The weight of the healthy mice remained the same after treatment with compound 14, as did their blood glucose levels. Meanwhile, the heightened blood glucose levels in the obese mice was reduced to near-normal levels after just a single dose of compound 14.

Taking things a step further, the team treated the obese mice with compound 14 for seven days and found that it improved their glucose tolerance and also shaved 1.5 g (0.05 oz), or around five percent, off their body weight. Subjecting the healthy mice to the same treatment brought about no changes in weight.

Compound 14 joins a host of other potential drugs that could be used to tackle bad health. In 2013, a drug under development at The Scripps Institute was found to increase the metabolic activity in skeletal muscles of mice, improving their muscle mass and fitness. We've also seen exercise-mimicking drugs that promise to better transform white fat into brown and ones that promise to reverse age-dependent diabetes.

The University of Southampton researchers will now continue to develop compound 14 and study the effects of long-term treatment. If it proves safe, the researchers say a drug could be developed aimed at those suffering diabetes and obesity.

The research was published in the journal Chemistry and Biology.

Source: University of Southampton

6 comments
piperTom
"The weight of the healthy mice remained the same after treatment with compound 14, as did their blood glucose levels." Dang! I was hoping for something to take ALONG WITH regular workouts, to magnify the effect. Looks like this is not that.
Kevin Ritchey
I am fat. No denying that fact. I had spinal cancer and it's made regular exercise impractical. Most certainly would be willing to try this as many other regiments have proven less than satisfactory. At my age, can't hurt.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
This data seems to clash with all of the data I have seen for the last several years. It is metabolically very difficult to turn ingested fat into stored fat. Ingested sugar turns to fat if not burned immediately. The goal of exercise is to break down muscle and induce over-recovery. The increased muscle bulk will metabolize more fat. Why weren't the mice fed pancakes? Maybe they had pancakes in corn oil. Doesn't say. Working off calories is rediculously nonproductive.
Catweazle
" the other fed high-fat foods so as to make them obese and intolerant to glucose" ???? I agree with Douglas Rogers.
AGO
How do you get fat by eating fat? How does blood glucose increase if no carbohydrate is taken in by fat mice? Ingesting fat does not provoke insulin response. Either there was a lot of basic info missing this article or drug companies are trying their best to activate mTOR pathway which is easily done with a little eating schedule change and the right foods (high fat low carb). Sounds like more bull than science.
nickyhansard
GODDAMN IT!!! A high fat diet does not cause diabetes, it has virtually nothing to do with diabetes. Fat intake has little to no effect on blood glucose levels and chronically elevated blood glucose levels are how you develop diabetes... In the vast majority of people a high fat/low (to non) carbohydrate/low protein diet will significantly improve insulin sensitivity and has been proven to completely reverse diabetes in some cases. I'm sure fat intake might give some people diabetes but it's a rare few.