The proteases that cause the damage leak out of the intestine, DeLano said. "The mechanism is a leaky or permeable intestine," he said. "We call it leaky gut syndrome."
A major next step will be to show that the protease damage seen in laboratory rats occurs in humans. "We will have to do human trials," DeLano said. "We are working with other researchers on human trials."
"This is really an important observation," said H. Glenn Bohlen, a professor of cellular and integrative physiology at Indiana University Medical School, who wrote an accompanying editorial. "It ties in information that high blood pressure and insulin resistance have the same cause, damage to receptors."
The function of proteases in rats and humans is the same, so what has been seen in the laboratory rats likely occurs in people. "It probably happens in humans on a different scale," Bohlen said. "Rats live at a different metabolic rate, much faster than in people."
The newly reported studies might also help explain why antioxidants such as vitamins C and E help against inflammation, he said.
"The next approach probably would be to treat an inflammatory state," Bohlen said. "There is something going on that we can interact with. There are many commercially available methods for blocking proteases."
In addition to antibiotics such as doxycycline, drugs such as ACE inhibitors are protease inhibitors, DeLano said. Protease inhibitors are also used to control HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Importance of controlling blood pressure and diabetes is described by the American Heart Association.
SOURCES: Frank DeLano, Ph.D, research scientist, department of bioengineering, University of California, San Diego; H. Gle
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