The leptin sensitizer celastrol reduces age-associated obesity and modulates behavioral rhythms.
Aging Cell. 2019 Jun ;18(3):e12874. Epub 2019 Mar 1. PMID: 30821426
The prevalence of obesity increases with age in humans and in rodents. Age-related obesity is characterized by leptin resistance and associated with heightened risk of metabolic disorders. However, the effect of leptin resistance per se has been difficult to disentangle from other effects of aging. Here we demonstrate that celastrol, a natural phytochemical that was previously shown to act as a leptin sensitizer, induces weight loss in aged animals, but not in young controls. Celastrol reduces food intake and lowers fasting glucose without affecting energy expenditure. Unexpectedly, administration of celastrol just before the dark period disrupted circadian rhythms of sleep and activity. This regimen was also associated with loss of lean mass an outcome that would not be desirable in elderly patients. Adjusting the timing of celastrol administration by 12 hr, to the beginning of the light period, avoided interference with circadian rhythms while retaining the reductions in body weight and adiposity. Thus, targeting leptin signaling is an effective strategy to ameliorate age-associated weight gain, and can profoundly impact circadian rhythms.