A selective inhibitor of ceramide synthase 1 reveals a novel role in fat metabolism
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A drug that blocks the production of waxy molecules known as ceramides could help combat the scourge of obesity and diabetes.
A team that included scientists from Deakin University developed a potent and selective inhibitor of ceramide synthase 1, the enzyme the produces the C18 form of ceramide found at high levels in skeletal muscle tissue, especially in overweight people.
In mice fed a high-fat diet to induce metabolic disease, daily administration of the drug increased the muscle’s ability to burn fat, leading to less fat being deposited and stored throughout the body.
Surprisingly, the drug did not protect against insulin resistance. The researchers propose that targeting other ceramide synthase enzymes may help promote insulin sensitivity. They also suggest that combination therapies involving multiple ceramide-targeted agents could produce strong anti-obesity effects.
- Nature Communications 9, 3165 (2018). doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05613-7