Scientists Slim Down, Speed Up Mice by Stripping Enzyme

Removing an enzyme triggered a speedier mouse metabolism
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2008 7:28 AM CDT
The scientists who discovered that a blood pressure drug led to weight loss in mice plan follow-up research on humans.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Australian scientists have made a breakthrough that could lead to treatments for obesity and diabetes, the BBC reports. Researchers removed an enzyme in fat cells of mice and found it sped up their metabolisms.  The mice with altered cells were an average of 20% lighter than normal mice and had up to 60% less body fat. They also appeared to have lower risk of developing diabetes because they processed sugar more quickly.

The angiotensin converting enzyme removed in the project is also suppressed by drugs used to treat people with high blood pressure. Researchers believe it might be possible to modify the drugs to be used for weight loss—although others noted that it hasn't been seen to cause weight loss in patients who take it, even at high doses, to bring down their blood pressure.