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

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"It turns out that there are strong parallels between the complete absence of FAS and the deficiencies in FAS induced by lack of insulin and by insulin resistance," Semenkovich says.

Comparing FASTie mice to normal animals, as well as to mice with diabetes, Wei and Semenkovich determined that mice without FAS, and with low levels of FAS, could not make the substance that anchors nitric oxide synthase to the endothelial cells in blood vessels.

"We've known for many years that to have an effect, NOS has to be anchored to the wall of the vessel," Semenkovich says. "Xiaochao discovered that fatty acid synthase preferentially makes a lipid that attaches to NOS, allowing it to hook to the cell membrane and to produce normal, healthy blood vessels."

In the FASTie mice, blood vessels were leaky, and in cases when the vessel was injured, the mice were unable to generate new blood vessel growth.

The actual mechanism involved in binding NOS to the endothelial cells is called palmitoylation. Without FAS, the genetically engineered mice lose NOS palmitoylation and are unable to modify NOS so that it will interact with the endothelial cell membrane. That results in blood vessel problems.

"In animals that don't have fatty acid synthase and normal nitric oxide synthase in endothelial cells, we saw
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Contact: Jim Dryden
jdryden@wustl.edu
314-286-0110
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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