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Researchers identify potential new therapeutic target for controlling high blood sugar
Date:3/19/2014

DALLAS March 19, 2014 A UT Southwestern Medical Center study has identified a new potential therapeutic target for controlling high blood sugar, a finding that could help the estimated 25 million Americans with type 2 diabetes.

Researchers showed that lipid molecules called phosphatidic acids enhance glucose production in the liver. These findings suggest that inhibiting or reducing production of phosphatidic acids may do the opposite.

This study establishes a role for phosphatidic acids in enhancing glucose production by the liver and identifies enzymes involved in the synthesis of phosphatidic acids as potential drug targets, said Dr. Anil Agarwal, Professor of Internal Medicine and senior author of the study in The Journal of Biological Chemistry.

These observations were made while studying a mouse model of lipodystrophy, a rare metabolic disease in which the body is devoid of fat. Lipodystrophy patients often develop diabetes and accumulate fat in the liver because of an imbalance in the bodys ability to properly regulate lipids and glucose. The causal gene, AGPAT2, which is involved in the synthesis of phosphatidic acid and triglycerides, was removed in the mice, resulting in rodents with generalized lipodystrophy. The research team then examined what impact this genetic manipulation had on phosphatidic acids and glucose production.

We expected the levels of phosphatidic acids to go down. However, in examining the livers of these lipodystrophic mice, we unexpectedly found high levels of this lipid class, Dr. Agarwal said, which led to the identification of new targets involved in the production of phosphatidic acids.

The buildup of these lipid molecules was due to an increase in the lev
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Contact: Debbie Bolles
debbie.bolles@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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