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Treating Obesity: Pharmacology of Energy Expenditure

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The pharmacological treatment options for obesity are currently very limited but the prevalence of the disease is increasing rapidly. Obesity has many serious sequelae, the most common of which is type-2-diabetes. The benefits of weight loss on health are established but the major impediment to weight loss treatments is maintenance of weight lost over the long term. The reduced- or post-obese individual undergoes physiological changes that are geared towards energy storage and weight regain. One of the physiological changes is a reduced capacity to oxidise fatty acids pushing them through pathways of triacylglycerol synthesis.

In this review, some of the past drug treatments aimed at increasing energy expenditure, such as dinitrophenol and ephedrine, are discussed. Current, or nearly current therapies such as sibutramine and rimonabant are also discussed in the context of increased energy expenditure. The main part of the review focuses on future prospects with discussion around a selection of targets with potential in energy expenditure that lie in pathways with AMP-kinase at their centre and ending at the mitochondrion.
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Keywords: energy expenditure; obesity; type-2-diabetes

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Department of Molecular Pharmacology, AstraZeneca R & D Molndal, S-431 83, Molndal, Sweden.

Publication date: 2004-04-01

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  • Current Drug Targets aims to cover the latest and most outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of molecular drug targets e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will be devoted to a single timely topic, with series of in-depth reviews, written by leaders in the field, covering a range of current topics on drug targets. These issues will be organized and led by a guest editor who is a recognized expert in the overall topic. As the discovery, identification, characterisation and validation of novel human drug targets for drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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