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Drug holds promise to halt debilitating condition of diabetes
Date:9/10/2010

LAWRENCE A drug developed at the University of Kansas has the potential to stop a debilitating condition of diabetes that often leads to pain in the extremities and even amputations, KU researchers have found.

The researchers recently published an article showing that KU-32 can stop and even reverse diabetic peripheral neuropathy, or DPN, in mice. The condition leads to death of nerves in the extremities of individuals with diabetes.

"People with DPN can be very sensitive to light touch, which can cause significant pain," said Rick Dobrowsky, professor of pharmacology and toxicology and one of the paper's authors. "The other side is eventually diabetes causes death of the nerves. DPN often leads to loss of feeling in the hands and feet, which can make diabetics susceptible to wounds and infections and often leads to amputations of toes and feet."

DPN is the second leading cause of amputations, after injuries.

Dobrowsky co-authored the paper with Brian Blagg, professor of medicinal chemistry; Roger Rajewski, professor of pharmaceutical chemistry; Joanna Krise and Michelle McIntosh, research associates with the Biotechnology Innovation and Optimization Center; Cuijuan Yu, research associate with the Higuchi Biosciences Center; postdoctoral researcher Yuanming Lu; and graduate students Michael Urban and Cuijuan Yu. It was published in the American Society of Neurochemistry's journal, ASN Neuro.

The researchers administered KU-32 to diabetic mice. The compound stopped DPN and showed it could restore sensory neuron function to damaged nerve tissue. KU-32 inhibits a specific member of a family of proteins called molecular chaperones.

"These studies provide the first evidence that targeting molecular chaperones reverses the sensory hypoalgesia associated with DPN," the authors wrote.

There are approximately 24 million diabetics in the United States. Dobrowsky said nearly 60 percent of them suffer f
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Contact: Mike Krings
mkrings@ku.edu
785-864-8860
University of Kansas
Source:Eurekalert

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