Drugs affecting ‘clock’ genes could help tackle diabetes and obesity

Drugs that affect the brain’s “biological clock” may help combat obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes, research suggests.

Two synthetic molecules were used to alter the activity of “clock” genes that control night-and-day based body functions.

Most living things, including humans, possess circadian rhythms that respond to 24-hour cycles of light and dark.

When the new compounds were given to obese mice, they reduced their fat and cholesterol levels. The mice also became less prone to the high blood sugar condition hyperglycaemia, which can lead to diabetes.

“The idea behind this research is that our circadian rhythms are coupled with metabolic processes and that can you modulate them pharmacologically,” said lead scientist Professor Thomas Burris, from the Scripps Research Institute in Florida. “As it turns out, the effect of that modulation is surprisingly positive — everything has been beneficial so far.”

The injected compounds, known as SR9011 and SR9009, were administered to the animals twice a day for 12 days.

They targeted the hypothalamus, which houses the brain’s “master clock” that controls circadian rhythms. The drugs activated certain proteins which play a key role in regulating circadian rhythms.

Obese mice lost weight despite being fed a diet high in fat and sugar.

Cholesterol levels in the blood of treated mice fell 47% while triglycerides — a harmful type of blood fat — were lowered by 12%.

A number of metabolism genes in the liver, skeletal muscle, and fat tissue were also altered, causing the mice to burn up more energy. However, the animals displayed a 15% reduction in movement.


A parent coach says parents are often the best judge of how to care for their baby – and explains how they can learn to have faith in their intuition.Ask an expert: How can I know what’s best for my baby?

We take a trip down memory lane and check out what happened on this day in years gone by by looking back at some Irish Examiner front pages and highlighting other events which went down in history across the world.August 23, 2019: A look back at what happened on this day in years gone by

Romantic florals to 1970s chic, fun femininity to gothic grunge —we showcase the top autumn/winter looks at Brown Thomas, with a focus on the most exciting and diverse designer labels.Coming at you: The top autumn/winter looks at Brown Thomas

RP O’Donnell says it is hard to find anywhere better than Boston to show your family a great time as he returns to a city he used to call homeA family friendly holiday guide to get the best out of beautiful Boston

More From The Irish Examiner