Individuals with diabetes who take diabetes medication classified as a thiazolidinedione often experience weight gain, adding another obstacle to their already tough battle against disease and immobility.
However, a team of scientists at the University of Cincinnati recently discovered the cause behind this effect, which could possibly lead to improved treatment options.
The drugs target a molecular system in fat tissue known as PPAR-γ. In doing so, they effectively lower blood glucose by adding fat cells in which the excess sugar can be stored. The drug has also been shown to stimulate appetite.
In a mouse model, the researchers found that inhibiting PPAR-γ activity helped to curb weight gain.
Authors of the study said they hope to now tweak thiazolidinedione drugs in an effort to hinder their effect on the brain, but retain the beneficial effects that they appear to have on the body.
“We know that one way to activate PPAR-γ is by exposing cells to fatty acids. If we know which ones activate PPAR-γ, we could find ways to alter diets so as to limit their ability to turn on this system that drives increased food intake, making it easier for people to avoid weight gain,” study authors said.