Research Highlights

Amodiaquine: Treatment of Metabolic Syndrome

2018-07-26 678


According to the Mayo Clinic, metabolic syndrome is a “cluster of conditions—increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels—that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.” Researchers have found that there is a strong correlation between metabolic syndrome and a condition called insulin resistance. Cells of people with the condition do not respond normally to insulin (a hormone that helps sugar enter cells to be used as fuel) and as a result, glucose levels in the bloodstream rise despite the body producing more insulin. Further research has discovered that the failure to maintain normal lipid storage in adipose tissue, commonly known as fat, can lead to insulin resistance, and consequently, metabolic syndrome. Simply put, the syndrome is thought to be caused by a disorder of energy storage and utilization. As a critical public health issue pervading the modern world, scientists are in a climacteric race for the discovery of preventative and therapeutic agents for the treatment of metabolic syndrome.

Collaborative research conducted by Professor Kyong-Tai Kim from the Department of Integrative Biosciences and Biotechnology at Pohang University of Science and Technology and Dr. Hoe-Yune Jung from NovMetaPharma Co., Ltd. has discovered a promising agent for the treatment of metabolic syndrome in the antimalarial drug known as amodiaquine. This achievement was published in the renowned journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.

Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) gamma agonists have shown tantalizing potential for the treatment of symptoms of metabolic syndrome. However, the many side effects, such as weight gain, edema, and heart failure associated with PPAR gamma agonists have curtailed their widespread usage.

The research team identified amodiaquine, an extensively used antimalarial drug that activates both PPAR-alpha and PPAR-gamma, and tested it for its anti-obesity and anti-diabetic activities. In both in vitro and in vivo studies on obese/diabetic mice, they discovered amodiaquine to have beneficial effects on crucial factors to metabolic syndrome such as fatty acid oxidation and glucose/lipid metabolism. In other words, the team successfully demonstrated amodiaquine’s ameliorating effects, such as decrease in body weight, without the negative side effects of traditional PPAR agonist treatments.

Professor Kim expressed his anticipation that this impactful and elegant demonstration of amodiaquine’s amelioration to symptoms of metabolic syndrome will lead to an effective solution to the burgeoning public health issue.