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

a lot of leaky blood vessels," Semenkovich explains. "The mice also were more susceptible to the consequences of infection, and they couldn't repair damage that occurred problems that also tend to be common in people with diabetes."

In one set of experiments, the researchers interrupted blood flow in the leg of a normal mouse and in a FASTie mouse.

"The control animals regained blood vessel formation promptly," Semenkovich says, "but that did not happen in the animals that were modified to be missing fatty acid synthase."

It's a long way, however, from a mouse to a person, so the researchers next looked at human endothelial cells, and they found that a similar mechanism was at work.

"Our findings strongly suggest that if we can use a drug or another enzyme to promote fatty acid synthase activity, specifically in blood vessels, it might be helpful to patients with diabetes," Wei says. "We also have been able to demonstrate that palmitoylation of nitric oxide synthase is impaired in diabetes, and if we can find a way to promote the palmitoylation of NOS, even independent of fatty acid synthase, it may be possible to treat some of the vascular complications of diabetes."

And it shouldn't matter whether a person has type 1 diabetes and can't manufacture insulin or the more common type 2 diabetes, in which a person becomes resistant to insulin.

"That's one of the key findings," Semenkovich says. "It won't matter whether it's an absence of insulin or resistance to insulin: both are associated with defects in FAS."


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

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