Numerous groups are developing products to treat obesity, but few are developing products to treat metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by accumulation of excessive abdominal fat, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and atherosclerosis. However, new research suggests that modulation of a single peripheral enzyme, 11-beta hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11B-HSD-1), could be used to treat both obesity and the accompanying metabolic syndrome.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and colleagues published in Science the generation of a transgenic mouse that overexpresses 11B-HSD-1 in adipocytes. The transgenic mice mimic humans with metabolic syndrome, including significantly greater visceral (intra-abdominal) fat deposits as well as hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia