Researchers have developed a new antibody that could potentially be used to treat type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and other metabolic diseases.
The therapeutic improves glucose regulation and reduces fatty liver in obese mice by targeting a hormone in adipose (fat) tissue called aP2 (also known as FABP4).
The increase in adipose tissue characteristic of obesity has long been linked to increased risk for metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The tissue itself plays an active role in metabolic disease, in part by releasing hormones which act in distant sites such as the liver, muscle, and brain that affect systemic metabolism.
Since aP2 levels are significantly increased in humans with obesity, diabetes, and atherosclerosis, and mutations that reduce aP2 result in significantly reduced risk of diabetes, dyslipidemia and heart disease, strategies to modify aP2 function carry promise as new lines of therapeutic entities against these common and debilitating chronic diseases.
In the study, researchers from Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health in Boston and colleagues described the development and evaluation of novel monoclonal antibodies targeting aP2.
The team found that one of these antibodies effectively improved glucose regulation in two independent models of obesity. Additionally, beneficial reductions in liver fat were observed.
“The importance of this study is two-fold - first, demonstrating the importance of aP2 as a critical hormone in abnormal glucose metabolism, and secondly, showing that aP2 can be effectively targeted to treat diabetes and potentially other immunometabolic diseases,” said Gokhan S Hotamisligil, a professor at Harvard Chan School.
Monoclonal antibodies have the potential to be transformative first-in-class therapeutics to fight obesity-related metabolic and immunometabolic disease, the authors said. The findings were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.