The research team comprises members of Professor Ken Ho's lab from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research as well as Professor Ric Day, a clinical pharmacologist from St. Vincent's Hospital.
Study leader, endocrinologist Dr Paul Lee, focused his PhD research on how various hormones affect metabolism. Of central importance is a class of hormones called catecholamines, which regulate heart rate, metabolism and breathing.
Formoterol is a synthetic catecholamine, the metabolic effects of which have not previously been studied in people. Therapy doses given to animals, however, have shown that it stimulates metabolism without affecting the heart.
"We have known for a long time that catecholamine influences the way the body handles nutrients, in particular fat and protein," said Lee.
"The generation of drugs before formoterol was exploited in the livestock industry around 20 years ago – to reduce the fat and increase the protein content of meat. Unfortunately, these older drugs also caused a faster heart rate."
"Formoterol is a new generation of this class of medication. It is highly selective for the kind of catecholamine receptors found in the lungs, and not those in the heart."
"The new drug is also more selective for a similar receptor found in muscle and fat. In theory at least, it should have beneficial metabolic effects – like the older class of medication – without affecting the heart."
Lee sourced the drug in its oral form, found the dose needed to give a metabolic effect, and gave it to 8 healthy men over a week.
"Energy metabolism increased by more than 10%, fat burning increased by more than 25%, while protein burning fell by 15%," he said.
"So although whole body metabolism increased, these men burned fat while reducing the burning of protein. That's a good thing because in the long run these effects may lead to a loss in fat mass and an increase in muscle.
"In this study, all 8 subjects tolerated the medication well – without any significant increase in heart rate."
The next step will be to test the drug over a longer period in a larger sample of people to determine if the beneficial effects translate into improvement in body composition, health and function.
Alison Heather | EurekAlert!
Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center
Study advances gene therapy for glaucoma
17.01.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
17.01.2018 | Awards Funding