Philadelphia, PA, January 9, 2012 New research reveals that insulin applied in therapeutic doses selectively stimulates the formation of new elastic fibers in cultures of human aortic smooth muscle cells. These results advance the understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of diabetic vascular disease. The study is published in the February issue of the American Journal of Pathology.
"Our results particularly endorse the use of insulin therapy for the treatment of atherosclerotic lesions in patients with type I diabetes, in which the induction of new elastic fibers would mechanically stabilize the developing plaques and prevent arterial occlusions," explained lead investigator Aleksander Hinek, MD, PhD, DSc, Professor, Division of Cardiovascular Research, The Hospital for Sick Children and the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto.
Primary insulin deficiency and decreased cellular sensitivity to insulin have been implicated in the pathogenesis of impaired healing processes, atherosclerosis and hypertension, all frequently observed in patients with both type I and type II diabetes. However, the possibility of a direct contribution of insulin to the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control the production of elastic fibers (elastogenesis) has not been explored. The researchers conducted a series of experiments to determine whether low therapeutic concentrations of insulin would promote the production of elastic fibers in cultures of human aortic smooth muscle cells.
Investigators found that insulin does in fact stimulate the deposition of elastic fibers in cultures of human aortic smooth muscle cells. The data demonstrated, for the first time, that low doses of insulin induce the elastogenic effect solely through the activation of insulin receptor and trigger the downstream activation of the P13K signaling pathway. The ultimate up-regulation of elastic fiber deposition b
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Elsevier Health Sciences