An Experimental Medicine May Prevent Sarcopenic Obesity
Sarcopenic obesity is age-related obesity in older people, which causes loss of skeletal muscle mass and decreased physical performance. Individuals with this condition may be at higher risk for CVDs, which is why it’s even more unfortunate there still aren’t enough treatments for it. However, a new glimmer of hope has recently appeared. A recently published study found that a new medicine—BAM15—could combat muscle loss and body weight increase.
The research suggests this medication can efficiently combat deficiencies linked to sarcopenic obesity in mice. In addition, one of the co-authors, Christopher Axelrod, believes that the results from this study could help develop effective medications for humans.
Individuals with sarcopenia experience loss of skeletal muscle mass which significantly affects their physical activity. Therefore, one of the ways to treat sarcopenic obesity could be increasing one’s energy expenditure.
Additionally, both obesity and sarcopenia can impair the function of mitochondria—organelles in cells—which are vital for producing energy and functioning of the muscles. Energy is produced in these organelles through two different, but linked processes. Separating the processes would mean generating heat in place of saving energy as fat. Interestingly enough, BAM15 has been found to act as a ‘mitochondrial uncoupling agent.’
The authors’ earlier study showed that BAM15 could combat obesity in juvenile mice. This time, the team wanted to examine the effect of this medication on older mice as well. They divided the animals into two groups:
- mice on a high-fat diet that had undergone treatment with BAM15
- mice on a high-fat diet without BAM15.
Even though all the mice consumed the same food, the ones in the first group didn’t gain body weight, unlike those in the second group. The researchers also detected an increase in muscle mass in the first group.
Finally, the mice that had been treated with BAM15 demonstrated greater physical performance. Because of the promising results, the team calls for further research to establish whether this medicine can be effective in people.
Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash