With the festive season behind many may be looking to the New Year as a time to change their lives and weight.Scientist have come up with a new way of helping achieve this task, using a naturally occurring hormone present in all everyone: peptide YY.
Peptide YY is a short protein, comprised of 36 amino acids, which is released by cells in the ileum and colon, part of the small and large intestine respectively, it is also produced by cells in small concentrations in the oesophagus and stomach. The release of this hormone is a natural feeding response in humans, used to control appetite.
When secreted, it aims to reduces appetite, allowing improved digestion of food already ingested.There are other appetite suppressors produced by the body, with hormones like leptin also secreted during a meal, however large people develop a resistance to the compound, reducing the sensation of feeling full. This might mean the hormones like peptide YY may prove beneficial to helping large people become slimmer.
The use of peptide YY has been experimented with for several years now, with varying success. However, scientists have since revised the delivery method, using an oral spray as a delivery method, publishing their results in The Journal of Neuroscience, this time on the ever-faithful laboratory mice.
Speaking to the University of Florida Health Newsroom, Dr. Sergei Zolotukhin, associate professor of cellular and molecular therapy in the University of Florida College of Medicine paediatrics department and co-author of the paper, said “The implications are simple: If you put peptide YY in a spray or gum and you take it half an hour before dinner, you may feel full faster and reduce food intake”. The researchers had previously attempted using gene therapy as a delivery mechanism for the hormone, with results indicating weight had been minimised yet without an increase of the hormone in the bloodstream. It was then they discovered the hormone was present in saliva.
The production of an oral spray might mean an easier and affordable way of administering peptide YY into patients. They found while an increase in salivary peptide YY triggered areas in the forebrain which are responsible for controlling hunger and satiety, it left the chemoreceptors in the brainstem responsible for triggering nausea unaffected.This alternate pathway means the scientists may use the hormone for therapeutic benefits.
In addition, Dr. Zolotukhin was keen to point out this might help reduce the number of people buying similar drugs off the internet, as their potential product was backing by medical facts.
How might these new developments help the community improve their health?