Synthetic small molecule analogues of the immunomodulatory Acanthocheilonema viteae product ES-62 promote metabolic homeostasis during obesity in a mouse model

Felicity E. Lumb, Jenny Crowe, James Doonan, Colin J. Suckling, Colin Selman, Margaret M. Harnett, William Harnett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


One of the most rapidly increasing human public health problems is obesity, whose sequelae like type-2 diabetes, represent continuously worsening, life-long conditions. Over the last 15 years, data have begun to emerge from human and more frequently, mouse studies, that support the idea that parasitic worm infection can protect against this condition. We have therefore investigated the potential of two synthetic small molecule analogues (SMAs) of the anti-inflammatory Acanthocheilonema viteae product ES-62, to protect against metabolic dysfunction in a C57BL/6 J mouse model of high calorie diet-induced obesity. We found weekly subcutaneous administration of the SMAs in combination (1 μg of each), starting one week before continuous exposure to high calorie diet (HCD), decreased fasting glucose levels and reversed the impaired glucose clearance observed in male mice, when measured at approximately 7 and 13 weeks after exposure to HCD. Fasting glucose levels were also-reduced in male mice fed a HCD for some 38 weeks when given SMA-treatment 13 weeks after the start of HCD, indicating an SMA-therapeutic potential. For the most part, protective effects were not observed in female mice. SMA treatment also conferred protection against each of reduced ileum villus length and liver fibrosis, but more prominently in female mice. Previous studies in mice indicate that protection against metabolic dysfunction is usually associated with polarisation of the immune system towards a type-2/anti-inflammatory direction but our attempts to correlate improved metabolic parameters with such changes were unsuccessful. Further analysis will therefore be required to define mechanism of action. Nevertheless, overall our data clearly show the potential of the drug-like SMAs as a preventative or treatment for metabolic dysregulation associated with obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111232
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular and Biochemical Parasitology
Early online date18 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2019


  • ES-62
  • glucose
  • helminth
  • metabolic syndrome
  • nematode
  • type 2 diabetes


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