Obesity is on the increase in industrialized countries and is a serious risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular disorders, but effective pharmaceutical treatments for obesity remain elusive. In February Nature Medicine, Ellen Air and colleagues from University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, show that small molecule insulin mimetics can reduce food intake and body weight and prevent development of obesity in an animal model.

Air et al. found the central intracerebroventricular administration of two insulin like nonpeptidyl compounds (Cpd1 and Cpd2) caused a dose-dependent reduction of food intake and body weight in rats. They suggested that Cpd might alter the expression of hypothalamic genes known to regulate food intake. In addition, unlike insulin itself, the oral administration of the small molecule insulin mimetics reduced body weight gain, adiposity and insulin resistance in a murine model of obesity (Nat Med 2002, 8:179-183).

These results "demonstrate...

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