Researchers believe they know why thiazolidinediones (TZDs), a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, can cause people to gain more body fat.
TZDs, which reduce the amount of glucose produced in the liver and lower insulin resistance in fat and muscle, were investigated by a team at Georgia State University.
According to their findings, TZDs also activate sensors in the brain that are responsible for appetite, triggering food intake.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma sensors, a group of nuclear receptor proteins, are linked with agouti-related protein cells, which are known as hunger-stimulating cells.
When researchers activated these sensors in rodent models, the animals immediately became hungry and reportedly even woke up when sleeping to go and eat.
However, the animals ate and stored less food when these sensors were blocked, with Johnny Garretso, study author and doctoral student in the Neuroscience Institute and Centre for Obesity Reversal at Georgia State, explaining: “People taking these TZDs are hungrier, and they do gain more weight. This may be a reason why.
“When they’re taking these drugs, it’s activating these receptors, which we believe are controlling feeding through this mechanism that we found.”
The results of this study were published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

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