Research in humans and monkeys suggests that lipocalin-2 (LCN2), which is a hormone that plays a role in feeling full after consuming a meal, might be able to help people lose weight.
Previous studies have suggested that when mice receive LCN2 over a period of time, it reduces their appetite and body weight, improves their sugar metabolism, and increases energy expenditure.
A new paper that appears in the journal eLife suggests that the hormone has a similar effect in primates such as monkeys and humans. This may mean that LCN2 could help people with obesity lose weight.
Obesity is an increasingly serious worldwide health concern. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 2.8 million people die every year as a result of obesity or overweight.
This condition is also associated with other chronic health concerns, such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, and depression, among others.
Currently, it is difficult to reduce obesity because of researchers’ limited understanding of the body’s mechanisms that maintain a balance between weight, energy intake, and energy use.
For example, when people who have had obesity for a long time lose weight, their bodies respond by slowing down their metabolism, which can ultimately lead to weight regain.
In general, diet- and exercise-based weight loss programs tend to work in the short term, while known pharmacological therapies raise safety concerns and have a limited effect.
Lead study author Dr. Peristera-Ioanna Petropoulou and colleagues believe that conducting further research into LCN2 may lead to a new way of reducing obesity.