PPAR-delta and Fitness In a Pill

PPAR-delta and Free Fitness
Ron Evans and team at the Salk Institute, researching obesity, discovered that altering genes that produce the protein PPAR-delta resulted in one-third the weight gain in mice fed a high-fat diet as compared to controls (regular mice). What was unexpected was the swtich in muscle fiber types. The engineered mice doubled the amount of slow-twitch muscle. As a result, without any additional exercise, their endurance increased 92% when compared to controls. Original research in Public Library of Science Biology (vol 2, e294); reported in New Scientist.
We asked Annie Toth, a PhD candidate in molecular biology, her opinion. She checked the original paper in PubMed; GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical giant, is already testing a PPAR-delta enhancing drug in clinical trials with people. Her comments:
“I’m somewhat morally opposed to making drugs that target PPAR delta… and not just because athletes could (and would) abuse them. There are so many obese people in our country, and obesity-related diseases are becoming out of control. So what are we going to do? Spend billions of dollars to make drugs to treat people with these diseases? Why not spend the money on after-school programs that encourage kids to develop healthy exercising habits? As the authors of the article acknowledge, manipulating PPAR-delta has the same effects as exercise.” (9/8)

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