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Do the Natural Chemical Compounds Interact with the Same Targets of Current Pharmacotherapy for Weight Management?-A Review

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Background: Obesity has become a worldwide health concern. Pharmacotherapies are now being introduced because lifestyle modifications alone are insufficient for weight management. The treatment outcomes of current approved anti-obesity agents are not satisfying due to drug-related intolerances. And so natural therapies including herbal medicines are popular alternatives for weight reduction; however, there are limited studies about their mechanism of actions.

Methods: Five databases (PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar, Science Direct, Proquest) were searched to investigate the targets and safety profiles of the current and past anti-obesity drugs that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the European Medicines Agency (EMA) as well as the commonly used off-label agents. The targets for weight-loss natural products and their principle bioactive components have also been searched. Only articles in English were included.

Results: The targets for current anti-obesity single agents include pancreatic lipase, Glucagon Like Peptide-1(GLP-1) receptor, and serotonin 2C (5-HT2C) receptor. Potential targets such as amylin, pancreatic alpha amylase, leptin receptor, melanocortin receptor 4 receptor (MC4R), Peroxisome Proliferator- Activated Receptors gamma (PPAR γ), endocannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor and Adenosine Monophosphate (AMP)-Activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) were discussed in various studies. Natural compounds have been found to interact with targets like pancreatic lipase, pancreatic alpha amylase, AMPK and PPAR γ to achieve weight reduction.

Conclusion: Current pharmacotherapies and natural chemical compounds do act on same targets. Further investigations on the interactions between herbal compounds and the above targets are essential for the development of novel weight-loss therapies.

Keywords: Obesity; current anti-obesity agents; herbal medicine; medicinal plants; pharmacotherapy; phytochemical; targets; weight management

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: March 1, 2019

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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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