Research ArticleObesity

Long-acting MIC-1/GDF15 molecules to treat obesity: Evidence from mice to monkeys

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Science Translational Medicine  18 Oct 2017:
Vol. 9, Issue 412, eaan8732
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aan8732

A bigger molecule to help slim down

Obesity is becoming increasingly common worldwide, and the available interventions do not fully address this problem. Surgery is currently the most effective intervention, especially for severe obesity, but it carries more risks than noninvasive treatments and produces permanent side effects. Xiong et al. searched for metabolically regulated proteins and identified the growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) pathway as a potential target for intervention. The loss of this protein in mice is associated with weight gain and worsened metabolic parameters. Conversely, the authors showed that treating with GDF15 improved metabolic health in mice, rats, and monkeys. They also designed a modified version of GDF15 (GDF15-Fc fusion) that has a longer half-life and would thus be a better candidate for clinical testing.