Discovery offers new approach for diabetes therapy

Subscribe to Oneindia News

Washington, July 13 (ANI): Scientists have 'cured' laboratory mice of mild, diet-induced diabetes by stimulating the production of a particular enzyme.

According to researchers, the findings could offer a new approach to diabetes therapy, especially if a drug could be identified that would do the same thing, which in this case was accomplished with genetic manipulation.

Increased levels of this enzyme, called fatty acid elongase-5, restored normal function to diseased livers in mice, restored normal levels of blood glucose and insulin, and effectively corrected the risk factors incurred with diet-induced diabetes.

"This effect was fairly remarkable and not anticipated," said Donald Jump at Oregon State University.

"It doesn't provide a therapy yet, but could be fairly important if we can find a drug to raise levels of this enzyme.

"There are already some drugs on the market that do this to a point, and further research in the field would be merited," he added.

The studies were done on a family of enzymes called "fatty acid elongases," which have been known of for decades.

In research on diet-induced obesity and diabetes, enzyme conversion pathways were studied, and found that elongase-5 was often impaired in mice with elevated insulin levels and diet-induced obesity.

The scientists used an established system, based on a recombinant adenovirus, to import the gene responsible for production of elongase-5 into the livers of obese, diabetic mice.

When this 'delivery system' began to function and the mice produced higher levels of the enzyme, their diet-induced liver defects and elevated blood sugar disappeared.

"The use of a genetic delivery system such as this was functional, but it may not be a permanent solution," Jump said.

"For human therapy, it would be better to find a drug that could accomplish the same thing, and that may be possible. There are already drugs on the market, such as some fibrate drugs, that induce higher levels of elongase-5 to some extent."

The potential for raising levels of elongase-5 would be a new, specific and targeted approach to diabetes therapy, he said.

"These studies establish a link between fatty acid elongation and hepatic glucose and triglyceride metabolism," the researchers said.

The study was published in the Journal of Lipid Research. (ANI)

Please Wait while comments are loading...