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Researchers discover root cause of blood vessel damage in diabetes
Date:1/28/2011

A key mechanism that appears to contribute to blood vessel damage in people with diabetes has been identified by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Blood vessel problems are a common diabetes complication. Many of the nearly 26 million Americans with the disease face the prospect of amputations, heart attack, stroke and vision loss because of damaged vessels.

Reporting in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the Washington University researchers say studies in mice show that the damage appears to involve two enzymes, fatty acid synthase (FAS) and nitric oxide synthase (NOS), that interact in the cells that line blood vessel walls.

"We already knew that in diabetes there's a defect in the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels," says first author Xiaochao Wei, PhD. "People with diabetes also have depressed levels of fatty acid synthase. But this is the first time we've been able to link those observations together."

Wei is a postdoctoral research scholar in the lab of Clay F. Semenkovich, MD, the Herbert S. Gasser Professor of Medicine, professor of cell biology and physiology and chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Lipid Research.

Wei studied mice that had been genetically engineered to make FAS in all of their tissues except the endothelial cells that line blood vessels. These so-called FASTie mice experienced problems in the vessels that were similar to those seen in animals with diabetes.


Contact: Jim Dryden
jdryden@wustl.edu
314-286-0110
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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