, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 1-9

Promising New Approaches to the Management of Obesity

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Abstract

The pathophysiology of obesity is complex with many different pathways involved. A better understanding of these weight-regulating mechanisms has lead to the identification of new targets for anti-obesity agents. Most attention has been given to the centrally acting neuropeptides regulating food intake. Leptin, playing a key-role, exerts its action through several neuropeptides such as neuropeptide Y, α-melanocyte stimulating hormone and agouti related protein. Cocaine-and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide and the orexins are the latest discovered peptides acting at the level of the hypothalamus. Targets for new drugs acting on peptides secreted from the periphery are cholecystokinin and glucagon-like peptide 1. Another potential target in the treatment of obesity is increasing energy expenditure via β3 adrenoceptors or uncoupling proteins. These new pharmacological agents in development could be valuable adjuncts to more traditional treatment strategies such as dietary treatment, behavioural/psychological counselling and physical activity.