Suppressing Sirt1 Enzyme in Brain Acts Against Obesity

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The Sirt1 enzyme in the body has generated enormous attention as a longevity agent.  Both fasting and drinking red wine, appear to aid in the longevity quest, because both likely activate Sirt1.

In a scientific discovery that shouldn’t yet be associated with the French Paradox, researchers from Brown University, Rhode Island Hospital and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have discovered that Sirt1 in the brain has its own potential health benefit: It may keep people thinner.

They determined that inhibiting the activity of Sirt1 in the brain’s hypothalamic region appears to help control food intake — a finding that potentially lays the groundwork for new treatments for obesity. Details will be published online Dec. 15, 2009, at PLoS One. via Science Daily

The biggest news of this research is that Sirt1 apparently behaves differently in the brain than in organs like the liver and pancreas, where the enzyme has been studied previously.


This development comes on the heels of last year’s announcement that the experimental new drug, SRT1720, made by Sirtris, a company based in Cambridge, Massachusets, activated the SIRT1 enzyme pathway and protected the mice from diet-induced obesity and its negative metabolic consequences primarily by increasing fat consumption in skeletal muscle, liver, and brown adipose tissue. It also improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity and enhanced exercise by making better use of fat in certain tissues said the researchers in a press statement. via Medical News Today

In Nov. 2008, Wired Science quoted Philip Lambert, a pharmacologist at Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, as saying that the development of SRT 1720 could follow antibiotics  and hard washing as the third most transformational medical discovery for human life.via Wired Science

While the fast food industry is salivating over the notion that SRT1720 may allow humans to eat unprecendented new amounts of food and stay slim (note that the effects on our planet could be catastrophic) this new research says that inhibiting Sirt1 in the brain could prompt humans to just consume less food, enhancing weight maintenance and longevity.