London, Sept 30: Diabetic drugs can affect the brain's reward system and reduce the need to eat more, researchers report.
The study on rats at Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg in Sweden shows that hormone-like medication used for Type-2 diabetes can lower food intake.
A follow-up study showed that this substance can also reduce alcohol intake.
"Later, we discovered that the same medication can stimulate production of two important hormones that play a major role in our immune system, in the areas of the brain that control appetite," said Rozita Anderberg from Sahlgrenska Academy in a university statement.
"The results are increasing our understanding of how these medications can affect the brain," Anderberg added.
The medication used for Type-2 diabetes mimics the gut-brain hormone called "glucagon-like peptide-1".
Recently, Type-2 diabetes has begun to be treated with medications that resemble the body's own hormone GLP-1.
The hormone GLP-1 is produced naturally, both in the intestines and in the brain.
After every meal, the levels of GLP-1 in the blood increase, which lead to an increase in insulin production and a decrease in appetite.
Medications resembling GLP-1 have become a potential new treatment for obesity and these findings can be of major clinical significance.
"Our data can make an important contribution to the understanding of these mechanisms," Anderberg added.