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New study reveals a novel approach to targetting obesity (05/07/2011)


A new study has revealed a surprising biological response to the intake of fats, which could provide a novel approach to targeting obesity.

The study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows for the first time that endocannabinoid signaling in the gut plays an important role in regulating fat intake. It had previously been thought that signaling was limited to receptors in the brain.

The preclinical study by the Drug Discovery and Development (D3) unit of the Italian Institute of Technology and the University of California, Irvine, showed that a meal containing fats results in the upper gut producing endocannabinoids, a family of biologically active lipids. Sugar and proteins do not have this effect, the study noted.

Dr Daniele Piomelli, Scientific Director of D3, and lead investigator said: “We know that eating fatty foods can taste good but the molecular mechanisms and signals behind the response have been largely unknown.

“We now know that fatty foods generate a signal in the tongue that results in the small intestine producing what are known as the body’s natural marijuana-like chemicals in a powerful positive feedback loop that drives fat intake.”

The unrestricted availability of fatty foods in industrialised countries is considered to be a key contributing factor for obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.(1)

New treatments for obesity are an active area of pharmaceutical research. Blocking cannabinoid type 1 receptors with an antagonist is a potential mechanism of action, but can cause serious psychiatric side effects if the drug enters the brain. This latest publication suggests it might be possible to halt cravings for fatty foods by blocking the actions of endocannabinoids in the gut, using an antagonist that does not enter the brain.

About the Drug Discovery and Development Unit (D3)

The D3 is a specialist unit of the Italian Institute of Technology dedicated to the discovery of new medicines that get to the core of 21st Century disease, including pain, inflammation and dementia.

D3 combines the creativity of start-of-the-art academic laboratories with the focus of a start-up company to accelerate research in important areas of unmet medical need.

(1) Cordain L, et al. Origins and evolution of the western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr 81 (2): 341-354

For more information, visit Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT)



L'armadietto omeopatico casalingo
(del Dott. Turetta)
Quali sono i problemi o le disfunzioni che possono giovarsi di un intervento omeopatico d'urgenza e, di conseguenza, come dovrebbe essere un ideale armadietto medicinale omeopatico casalingo.

A cura di: Dott.ssa S.Cavalli, Dott. L. Colombo, Dott. U. Zuccardi Merli


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