Drug researchers have identified a new class of molecule that could help to tackle diabetes, and which mimic the beneficial metabolic effects of a reduced-calorie diet. The compounds activate the same pathway targeted by resveratrol, the compound thought to deliver many of the proposed health benefits of red wine and grapes.
The new compounds are roughly 1,000 times more potent than resveratrol at activating a molecule called SIRT1, which functions to ensure that the body remains receptive to the activity of the hormone insulin. They are therefore more potent at staving off the development of type 2 diabetes. Obese mice treated with the compounds showed improved insulin sensitivity and reduced blood glucose levels, report researchers led by Christoph Westphal in Nature.
Although far from entering clinical testing in humans, the compounds potentially offer an important therapeutic avenue for developing treatments to tackle diseases linked to ageing and poor diet, the researchers add.
Christoph Westphal (Sirtris Pharmaceuticals Inc, Cambridge, MA, USA)
(C) Nature press release.
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