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《中国日报》(China Daily)头版报道:Scientists unlock TCM drug's role in weight loss

发布者:张欧扬发布时间:2017-04-20浏览次数:10

    Chinese scientists have identified the  chemical mechanism of celastrol, which they call one of the most potent natural  weight-loss agents, marking another step toward its possible future development  into a major weight-loss drug.

    The compound is extracted from the roots of  thunder god vine, a toxic herb used in traditional Chinese medicine for  centuries to cure arthritis and autoimmune diseases. In TCM, however, it is used  in tiny amounts, mainly to treat severe diseases, because of its potentially  dangerous side effects.

    A research team led by Zhang Xiaokun,  president of Xiamen University's Institute for Biomedical Research, found  celastrol can change a cell's metabolism by eliminating inflamed mitochondria,  leading to weight loss. Mitochondria are the cell's energy factory.

    This is a huge step in turning celastrol into  a feasible and safe medicine for humans, he said. Celastrol could be a powerful  tool to treat patients suffering from obesity and associated complications, such  as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and fatty liver.

    Celastrol has long been a hot subject in  biomedicine. In 2007, Cell, a prestigious science journal, listed celastrol with  the discovery of antimalarial drug artemisinin-which won chemist Tu Youyou the  Nobel Prize in 2015-among five natural herbal compounds with the most potential  for modern medicine.

    In 2015, scientists at Boston Children's  Hospital and Harvard Medical School discovered celastrol can help obese mice  lose up to 45 percent of their body fat by enhancing a cell's reaction to an  appetite-suppressing hormone called leptin.

    However, scientists did not know exactly how  celastrol affects a cell's bioactivities. Since celastrol and the plant it comes  from are extremely toxic, some people were very skeptical or even objected to  the idea that people can eat such a thing, Zhang said. After all, the vine has a  scary, centuries-old nickname: gut-cutting grass.

    Terrifying as it may sound, on a cellular  level, celastrol may be beneficial because it acts on an orphan receptor called  Nur77, which induces inflamed mitochondria to dissolve, effectively taking out  the root cause of many chronic inflammation diseases such as obesity, tumors and  metabolic diseases, he said.

    Mitochondria play a key role in cellular  death, immunity and inflammation. By killing the malfunctioning mitochondria,  celastrol can help control cell metabolism and increase a cell's sensitivity to  leptin, a hormone that inhibits hunger, thus leading to weight loss, Zhang  added.

    Zhang said his team, whose findings were  published this month by Molecular Cell, an international science journal, will  now focus on how celastrol regulates metabolism in greater detail and find ways  to reduce the substance's toxicity while keeping its weight loss potency.

    Also, scientists are looking for other  receptors for celastrol that may affect cells differently and possibly offer new  solutions to chronic metabolic or autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid  arthritis, tumors and AIDS, he added.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2017-04/18/content_28969203.htm



 
 
                                  
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