Scientists were able to reduce weight gain in mice by feeding them a genetically modified version of E. coli, a common intestinal bacterium. The biofortified microbes were designed to produce N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine (NAPE) which the bodies of mice and humans convert into N-acylethanolamide (NAE) a hormone that signals the brain to reduce appetite.
In the study, published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, mice given the microbe and un-dosed animals were both put on a high-fat diet. The animals fed the bacteria via their drinking water ate less and gained less weight, and also showed less insulin resistance, a marker for diabetes.
The finding raises the possibility that these bacteria, which basically amount to an engineered probiotic, could be imported into humans to do the same thing. That's obviously a ways off and hypothetical at this point, since mice are not humans.
However, if the biofortified microbe is deemed safe for consumption, it would have several advantages of current treatments for obesity (of which there are few). E. coli colonizes the human gastrointestinal tract better than most probiotics and the genetically modified bacterium has been shown to exert its effects for at least four weeks between interventions. This would negate the need for taking a pill everyday.
Read more here:
Read the research article from The Journal of Clinical Investigation here: http://www.jci.org/articles/view/72517
Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald