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Scientists Reverse Diet-Induced Disease in Obese Mice with Targeted Liver Drug Delivery


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Scientists Reverse Diet-Induced Disease in Obese Mice by Delivering Drug to Liver

A team of scientists has successfully reversed diet-induced disease in obese mice by delivering a drug directly to the liver. This breakthrough research shows that nanogel encapsulation of drugs could be an effective treatment for diseases like fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol in the future.

Nanogel Technology for Effective Treatment

Nanogel technology is used to produce a synthetic thyroid hormone preparation known as a thyroid mimetic. These hormones help maintain liver metabolism balance. However, using thyroid stimulants systemically reduces their effectiveness and comes with side effects. Biomedical and chemical engineer S. Tai Teumanavan from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA, explains the need to selectively deliver this drug to the liver to avoid complications.

Targeting Carrier Nanogel to Liver Cells

Teumanavan and colleagues conducted experiments on mouse models to determine if they could specifically target the carrier nanogel to liver cells. They were able to package a thyroid mimetic called Axitrome in anionic nanogels (ANG) for daily administration to obese and control mice for five weeks via intra-abdominal injection. Obese mice were fed a diet high in fat, sugar, and cholesterol for 24 weeks before treatment.

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Positive Results: Weight Loss and Reduced Cholesterol Levels

The treated mice experienced complete weight loss without any noticeable side effects. By maintaining the mice’s diet throughout the treatment period, their weight returned to normal, and their cholesterol levels decreased, along with the level of dangerous hepatitis. The team believes that the activation of the reverse cholesterol transport pathway, along with increased metabolic rate and fat oxidation, contributed to the weight loss. However, further research is needed to confirm this.

How the Treatment Works

After the ANGs enter liver cells, the boosters are released when the environment in the liver cells breaks the bonds in the nanogels. The drug then binds to a protein that helps regulate gene expression. Axitrom’s ability to reverse weight gain without causing extensive changes in thyroid hormone levels suggests the potential of thyroid mimicry for treating metabolic conditions like obesity.

The study was published in PNAS Nexus

Source: Science Alert

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