An NIA-sponsored study has shown that treatment with a repurposed drug can help mice to lose weight and improve metabolic functioning. This drug, disulfiram, is normally prescribed to treat alcohol addiction, but was investigated in the current study as an off-label means of treating obesity and metabolic dysregulation in mice. Researchers fed middle-aged mice a high-fat diet across a period of 12 weeks, which induced obesity and metabolic dysfunction. Then, they divided the mice into four treatment groups, including: (1) a standard diet group; (2) a high-fat diet group; (3) a high-fat diet + low disulfiram dose group; and (4) a high-fat diet + high disulfiram dose group. Mice in the high-fat diet group continued to gain weight and experience metabolic dysregulation, while those who switched to the standard diet eventually lost weight and saw a return of normal metabolic function. Mice in the two disulfiram groups, however, showed more dramatic weight loss and a near reversal of metabolic damage, including restoration of insulin sensitivity. The research team hypothesized that these benefits may be due to the anti-inflammatory properties of disulfiram, which appeared to protect the mice from the harmful effects of the high-fat diet. The researchers noted that treatment with disulfiram could represent a potential therapy for obesity and related metabolic dysfunction in humans, should clinical trial evidence support it. This study was published in Cell Metabolism.