Subjects: R and D
French scientists have reported that an investigational drug with the inauspicious name SRT 1720 helped mice stay thin even while consuming a high calorie, high fat diet.
The report appears in last week’s Cell Metabolism. During a 10-week course of SRT 1720, mice fed a gluttonous diet gained no weight and did not develop signs of insulin resistance (which suggests diabetes or the risk of developing diabetes). The treated mice had lower amounts of fat stores at the end of the study, and their fat cells were smaller than those of controls.
SRT 1720 achieves these wondrous results by activating the so-called SIRT 1 metabolic pathway, a sequence of cellular biochemical reactions normally activated by prolonged food deprivation, according to Dr. Johan Auwerx of the Ecole Polytechnique Fedarale de Lausanne.
SIRT 1 activation causes the body to rely on fat rather than glucose as a source of energy. It also increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
This SIRT 1 pathway is the same one that is believed to mediate the process by which the antioxidant resveratrol—contained in red wine—exerts its anti-aging and cancer-fighting effects.
“Our results further validate SIRT 1 as a bona fide target to combat metabolic disorders and establish SRT 1720 as a prime candidate to explore the potential of SIRT1 as a therapeutic target,” the authors wrote.