A new Australian study, published in Immunology and Cell Biology, has reported that high levels of enzyme ADAM28 in the body is linked to occurrence of metabolic syndrome that predisposes an individual to obesity and type 2 diabetes. The study holds immense value as researchers believe that it will help find new treatments to fight obesity and associated health complications.

ADAM28 is a metalloproteinase - a type of enzyme that breaks down proteins and uses a metal (such as zinc, or cobalt) for the process.

"Our project is very significant because it demonstrates for the first time the importance of ADAM28 in the occurrence of metabolic syndrome, and further supports that metalloproteinase inhibition is a potential therapeutic target for anti-obesity agents," lead author Vance Matthews, Assistant Professor at the University of Western Australia, said.

"This means that further down the track, drugs may become available to treat obesity, thereby reducing the incidence of type 2 diabetes," Matthews stated in a news release.

The research team from The University of Western Australia found that when the enzyme ADAM28 was present in cells that were showing inflammation, the body exhibited signs of metabolic syndrome. So, researchers began to examine enzyme ADAM28 and protein TNF-alpha - already known to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. TNF-alpha is produced by many types of inflammatory cells.

Researchers found that ADAM28 is likely to increase the release of TNF-alpha from the surface of the cell, which in turn leads to enhanced inflammation.

"While my research looks at the growing problems of obesity and type 2 diabetes and how the inflammatory pathways are activated in our bodies, our discoveries also have far-reaching consequences for other diseases that involve inflammation," Matthews added.