New research indicates that a chemical found in red wine, grapes and other fruit may be able to block the cellular processes that allow fat cells to develop. The compound could have the potential to be turned into an anti-obesity drug.
Research undertaken at Purdue University has led to the isolation of a chemical compound similar to resveratrol (which is an organic compound thought to have anti-cancer properties and is used as an anti-inflammatory drug). The discovered compound is called piceatannol. Initial trials have found that piceatannol is able to blocks an immature fat cell’s ability to develop and grow. Piceatannol is present in different quantities in red grape seeds and skin, blueberries, passion fruit, and other fruits. The research team was led by Kee-Hong Kim and the findings were reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. According to Purdue University’s synopsis, over a period of time immature fat cells go through several stages to become mature fat cells, or adipocytes. It is thought that combating fat cells before they mature may be on means of controlling obesity. The process is controlled by insulin and piceatannol has the ability to block the ability of insulin to control cell cycles. Medical news notes that further research is needed and the research team plan to undertake some animal models of obesity as the next step. Journal reference is : J. Y. Kwon et al. Piceatannol, Natural Polyphenolic Stilbene, Inhibits Adipogenesis via Modulation of Mitotic Clonal Expansion and Insulin Receptor-dependent Insulin Signaling in Early Phase of Differentiation. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2012; 287 (14)