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Obesity: Pathophysiology and Clinical Management

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Obesity is an increasingly serious socioeconomic and clinical problem. Between 1/4 - 1/3 of population in the developed countries can be classified as obese. Four major etiological factors for development of obesity are genetic determinants, environmental factors, food intake and exercise. Obesity increases the risk of the development of various pathologic conditions including: insulin-resistant diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, endocrine problems, and certain forms of cancer. Thus, obesity is a negative determinant for longevity. In this review we provide broad overview of pathophysiology of obesity. We also discuss various available, and experimental therapeutic methods. We highlight functions of adipocytes including fat storing capacity and secretory activity resulting in numerous endocrine effects like leptin, IL-6, adiponectin, and resistin. The anti-obesity drugs are classified according to their primary action on energy balance. Major classes of these drugs are: appetite suppressants, inhibitors of fat absorption (i.e. orlistat), stimulators of thermogenesis and stimulators of fat mobilization. The appetite suppressants are further divided into noradrenergic agents, (i.e. phentermine, phendimetrazine, benzphetamine, diethylpropion), serotoninergic agents (i.e. dexfenfluramine), and mixed noradrenergic-serotoninergic agents (i.e. sibutramine). Thus, we highlight recent advances in the understanding of the central neural control of energy balance, current treatment strategies for obesity and the most promising targets for the development of novel anti-obesity drugs.

Keywords: BMI; BVT.933; PRDM16; TNF; growth hormone

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: BioApplication Enterprises, Winnipeg, MB, R3E 0V9, Canada.

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.

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