Researchers at the University of Michigan’s Life Sciences Institute have found that amlexanox, an off-patent drug, currently prescribed for the treatment of asthma and other uses, also reverses obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver in mice.
“Amlexanox appears to work in mice by inhibiting two genes — IKKE and TBK1 — that we think together act as a sort of brake on metabolism,” Dr. Alan Saltiel said. “By releasing the brake, amlexanox seems to free the metabolic system to burn more, and possibly store less energy.”
In the study done on obese mice, amlexanox was shown to reduce body weight and reverse metabolic problems such as diabetes and fatty liver. Inhibiting the IKKE/TBK1 pathway can increase metabolism and could potentially reverse type 2 diabetes.
Different formulations of amlexanox are currently prescribed to treat asthma in Japan and canker sores in the United States.
Further studies need to be done to see if amlexanox’s effectiveness in mice can lead to a compound that is safe and effective for treating obesity and diabetes in humans. If that is proven, a safe compound tailored for this indication would need to be formulated.
Published online Feb. 10, 2013 in Nature Medicine.
Submitted by Sara DAkroub, PharmD Candidate