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Oral Peptide Spray Could Cause Weight Loss in Animals

Update Date: Dec 20, 2013 03:03 PM EST
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The researchers noted that by deleting one copy of the gene, the rodents' symptoms for Dravet syndrome improved dramatically. (Photo : Flickr/woodleywonderworks)

In a new study, researchers tested another way of curbing obesity in animals. Obesity is a disease that can contribute to several other health conditions, such as hypertension and cardiovascular events. With the obesity epidemic still at large, finding ways to safely lose weight is important. The researchers of this study used an oral spray that consisted of a peptide, which is made naturally in the body, on animals and found that the spray helped curb appetite and promote weight loss.

The research team from the University of Florida created an oral spray containing peptide YY, which is often released in the body after a meal. When the oral spray was used on mice models, the researchers found that one puff reduced the mice's food consumption. The mice also lost weight. The researchers did not find any negative side effects.

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"The implications are very simple: If you put peptide YY in a spray or gum and you take it half an hour before dinner, you will feel full faster and consume less food. It could be just a 5 or 10 percent difference, but it is enough to stimulate weight loss," said Sergei Zolotukhin, an associate professor of cellular and molecular therapy in the UF College of Medicine department of pediatrics.

Peptide YY has been tied to inducing the feeling of fullness previously. However, after human trials found that peptide YY caused vomiting in some cases, scientists stopped using the compound. In these trials, peptide YY was directly injected into the blood stream. The researchers explained that since peptide YY reduces appetite, people who had eaten too much food with the compound in their system might have the urge to throw up. The researchers of the most recent study found that administering peptide YY via the tongue made a huge difference.

"Comparing systemic peptide YY versus salivary PYY, what we have found is that although salivary PYY induces similar neuronal pathways to induce fullness, at the same time, it does not induce the neuronal pathways that cause visceral sickness," Zolotukhin said according to Medical Xpress. The researchers plan on conducting more research before moving on to human trials.

The study was published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

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