Allergy drugs may fight obesity – study
Over-the-counter allergy and asthma drugs helped obese, diabetic mice lose weight and control their blood sugar, researchers reported on Monday.
Three other studies strongly linked obesity and type-2 diabetes to a dysfunctional immune system, and researchers said these findings could lead to better drugs or perhaps even vaccines to treat the effects of both conditions.
Rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes are surging around the world as people eat more and exercise less. The four studies published in the journal Nature Medicine help explain how obesity might cause diabetes and how the two together can cause organ damage, heart disease and death.
Guo-Ping Shi at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in the United States and colleagues found that mast cells – the immune cells that get out of control in allergy and asthma – were abundant in fat tissues of obese and diabetic people and mice.
They created obese and diabetic mice by overfeeding them. Then they gave some of the mice two antihistamines, one called ketotifen fumarate, sold by Novartis AG under the brand name Zaditor and generically available cromolyn.
Both help stabilise mast cells in people with allergy or asthma, Shi said in a statement.
Mice fed a healthy diet improved moderately, while those given either cromolyn or Zaditor showed dramatic improvements. But mice given the drug and switched to a healthy diet showed nearly 100 percent recovery in all areas.
“The best thing about these drugs is that we know it’s safe for people,” Shi said. “The remaining question now is: Will this also work for people?” Shi will test both in monkeys.
source : Reuters
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