Research published in the scientific journal Clinical and experimental immunology on March 9 shows that a peptide (small protein) called PEPITEM could provide a breakthrough approach to reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related diseases such as fatty liver disease.
The researchers used an animal model of obesity to determine if PEPITEM, delivered by a slow-release pump, could prevent or reverse the effects of a high-fat diet on the pancreas. Excitingly, the results showed that the administration of PEPITEM significantly reduced the enlargement of
The research team was led by Dr Helen MCGettrick and Dr Asif Iqbal from the
The latest research, published in Clinical and Experimental Immunology, shows that the adiponectin-PEPITEM pathway also links obesity, the low-level inflammatory response that drives it, and pancreatic changes that precede diabetes.
Results showed that administration of PEPITEM while mice were on a high-fat diet significantly reduced the enlargement of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and the number of white blood cells in visceral adipose tissue and the peritoneal cavity. , compared to controls.
The researchers also examined the potential of PEPITEM to reverse the changes caused by obesity, by feeding the animals a high-fat diet before treating them with PEPITEM. Surprisingly, they saw similar results. Dr Asif Iqbal commented: “Until now, we have understood very little how the inflammation that accompanies obesity drives pathology. These results show us that PEPITEM can both prevent and reverse the impact of obesity on the metabolism. The next step is to translate these exciting findings into therapies that can be used in humans.
Professor Ed Rainger from the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences in Birmingham led the team that first identified PEPITEM. He commented: “We are all very excited about these latest results. PEPITEM is a natural peptide. We have already shown that it has effects on several organs and now, for the first time, we have shown that PEPITEM is effective in a model of disease process that is not driven by the immune system alone.
Reference: “PEPITEM modulates leukocyte trafficking to reduce obesity-induced inflammation” by Laleh Pezhman, Sophie J Hopkin, Jenefa Begum, Silke Heising, Daniela Nasteska, Mussarat Wahid, G Ed Rainger, David J Hodson, Asif J Iqbal, Myriam Chimen and Helen M McGettrick, March 9, 2023, Clinical and experimental immunology.
The University of Birmingham Enterprise had previously filed patent applications covering the compositions and therapeutic uses of PEPITEM, and has now filed another application covering its use in the prophylaxis or treatment of inflammatory conditions associated with obesity, including chronic low-grade systemic inflammation and pancreatic beta – cell damage.