The researches find that the Obesity is a growing public health crisis, bringing with it many serious risk factors; including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Therefore As the number of people who are either overweight or obese now outnumbers those with a healthy body weight by a ratio of two to one; researchers face an urgent need to better understand how the body burns fuel.

Growing public health crisis

In a recent paper published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry; Saint Louis University researchers collaborating with scientists at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine reported that low levels of a circulating hormone called adropin predict increased weight gain and metabolic dysregulation during consumption of a high-sugar diet in a nonhuman primate model.

The researchers hope these findings will help set the stage to develop new therapies for managing metabolic diseases. Several years ago; Andrew Butler, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and physiology at SLU, and his lab discovered the peptide hormone adropin.

Develop new therapies

Research by Butler’s lab suggests that adropin regulates whether the body burns glucose or fat. In previous studies performed in mice; researchers found that low levels of the hormone observed in obese mice may contribute to diabetes and the associated reduced ability of the body to use glucose.

They also found that young men with high adropin levels had lower body mass index (BMI) levels. Moreover, some studies indicate low adropin is associate with biomarkers of insulin resistance. In the current study; Butler and his UC; Davis colleagues have conducted studies at California National Primate Research Center located on UC, Davis campus in order to explore adropin’s role in metabolic health.

High adropin levels

They examined the plasma of 59 adult male rhesus macaques fed a high sugar diet. Overall; consumption of the fructose diet produced a 10% gain in body weight and increases of fasting levels of insulin; indicating insulin resistance, which reduces glucose use and elevated fasting triglycerides which in humans increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Animals with low plasma adropin concentrations developed a more severe metabolic syndrome. Interestingly, development of type 2 diabetes was only observed in animals with low plasma adropin concentrations. These animals also showed more pronounced dysregulation of glucose and lipid metabolism.

Fasting hyperglycemia was also limited to animals with low circulating adropin, indicating glucose intolerance. The team also examined a baboon transcriptome (genetic) data set to explore expression of the adropin gene in a nonhuman primate. Adropin is encoded by the Energy Homeostasis Associated (ENHO) gene.