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The battle against obesity and diabetes could be helped by a drug that mimics the effects of a wonder ingredient in red wine.
The compound, SRT1720, targets a protein called SIRT1 which is also affected by resveratrol, a chemical in the skins of red grapes that is believed to combat ageing and help prevent heart disease and cancer.
In tests led by Professor Johan Auwerx, from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland, the drug was found to protect mice from weight gain and insulin disorders even when they ate a high-fat diet. It also enhanced their running ability.
Professor Auwerx said: “There has been a lot of controversy in the field about resveratrol action. We find that the majority of the biology of resveratrol can be ascribed to SIRT1.
“These results show that new synthetic SIRT1 activators can reproduce the positive metabolic effects that were previously demonstrated using resveratrol, a naturally occurring SIRT1 activator found in red wine.
“But unlike resveratrol, these new chemical entities target only the SIRT1 pathway, making them more selective and potent for achieving these metabolic benefits.”
The research is reported in the journal Cell Metabolism.
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