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Shots of Intestinal Hormone Aid Weight Loss

Injections of the hormone oxyntomodulin may help overweight and obese people to lose weight, according to a 29 August report by MedPage Today.

Oxyntomodulin is a naturally occurring hormone released by the small intestine. Results of this recent study were published in the August issue of Diabetes


Oxyntomodulin is a peptide hormone produced by the proglucagon gene. It is released from the small intestine into the bloodstream when a person ingests food and travels to the brain, where previous studies suggest it acts to enhance satiety and reduce appetite.

By administering oxyntomodulin before meals, it is possible to “fool the brain that you have already eaten,” says the research team, led by Katie Wynne, MRCP, a clinical research fellow at Hammersmith Hospital in London, according to MedPage Today.

“When we give oxyntomodulin artificially before meals we are using the natural system by which the body controls appetite. We would not expect either side effects or escape from its action because you have had it every day since you were born.”

Clinical Trial Results

The study included 14 study participants who self-injected oxyntomodulin three times daily before meals while maintaining a normal diet and exercise levels. After four weeks, they had reduced overall body weight by 2% (2.3 ± 0.4 kg versus 0.5 ± 0.5 kg lost by another 12 subjects receiving placebo saline injections).

However, within two weeks of stopping oxyntomodulin injections, participants regained the lost weight.

“These preliminary data suggest that the administration of oxyntomodulin could be an effective treatment for obesity," Dr. Wynne and colleagues reported in the Diabetes study.

Study participants receiving oxyntomodulin ate less than usual, despite being asked to maintain normal eating habits, because of oxyntomodulin’s satiety-inducing effect. Researchers measured energy intake at mealtime on days 1, 2 and 29 (for meals with known energy content). Intake by participants receiving oxyntomodulin was significantly lower on days 2 and 29, compared with day 1, while the placebo group’s energy intake remained stable.

Adipose hormone levels (leptin and adiponectin) significantly changed among subjects receiving oxyntomodulin, a characteristic consistent with adipose-tissue loss.


Posted: September 2005