Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Micro Diet

Little-used antibiotic enoxacin promotes burning of obesity-promoting fat

31 December 2020

Micro Diet

After a year’s various indulgences, some of us will make resolutions to exercise more. This not only burns off calories, but also fuels the body’s capacity to keep weight under control, in part by boosting microRNAs – small strands of genetic material that can promote energy use. An alternative way to trigger this process might help people accomplish their weight-loss goals. A new study has looked at how enoxacin – an antibiotic rarely used any more – can encourage metabolism in cells and hence keep weight down. In experiments with mice, it caused microRNAs to make obesity-promoting white fat (which stores surplus energy as fat) behave like brown fat (which turns food to heat), and increased energy expenditure in cells (enoxacin-stimulated fat cells pictured). Enhancing our body’s natural ability to prevent obesity could help tackle a growing health problem, and maybe make next year’s indulgences a little less costly.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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