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Drug for erectile disorder show promise in the treatment of obesity

Date:
April 1, 2013
Source:
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Summary:
Although sildenafil is best known for promoting erections, it may also serve as a weight loss aid by coaxing our bodies to store more healthy "brown fat" relative to unhealthy "white fat" than it would otherwise do on its own.

Although sildenafil is best known for promoting erections, it may also serve as a weight loss aid by coaxing our bodies to store more healthy "brown fat" relative to unhealthy "white fat" than it would otherwise do on its own. According to new research published online in The FASEB Journal, this is because sildenafil inhibits the breakdown of cyclic GMP, which has been well known as a messenger molecule used by the body to control blood pressure and flow, and has now been shown to play an important role determining which type of fat -- white or brown -- the body stores.

"There is a growing need for novel treatments against obesity," said Alexander Pfeifer, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Bonn, Biomedical Center in Bonn, Germany. "Finding new positive effects of existing drugs, such as sildenafil, in adipose tissue might help to bridge the period until novel drugs against obesity have been developed."

To make this discovery, Pfeifer and colleagues used mice to show that cyclic GMP reduced the secretion of pro-inflammatory hormones, which, in turn, shifted the "color code" of fat from white to brown. Mice treated with sildenafil showed browning of the white fat after just a few days of treatment, which is believed to be the result of high cyclic GMP levels. Then the researchers used isolated fat cells and treated the cells directly with cyclic GMP and identified a "browning" effect as well.

"Clearly, size matters when it comes to our weight," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "Numerous studies show that obesity is a risk factor for virtually every human disease, and that obesity is epidemic. The finding that Viagraฎ and similar drugs can change our body fat composition has major implications. These drugs have well defined risk/benefit profiles and are approved for the treatment of erectile disorders. Further research will determine whether they are useful in the treatment of human girth disorders."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. M. Mitschke, L. S. Hoffmann, T. Gnad, D. Scholz, K. Kruithoff, P. Mayer, B. Haas, A. Sassmann, A. Pfeifer, A. Kilic. Increased cGMP promotes healthy expansion and browning of white adipose tissue. The FASEB Journal, 2013; 27 (4): 1621 DOI: 10.1096/fj.12-221580

Cite This Page:

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Drug for erectile disorder show promise in the treatment of obesity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130401101021.htm>.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. (2013, April 1). Drug for erectile disorder show promise in the treatment of obesity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130401101021.htm
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Drug for erectile disorder show promise in the treatment of obesity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130401101021.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

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