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Archive - 11 - 2006

NYU, Scripps Finding Offers New Path for Treatment of Diabetes

Posted by dlife on Tue, Nov 28, 06, 02:10 PM 0 Comment

November 28, 2006 (EurekAlert) - Researchers at New York University and the Scripps Research Institute have discovered a new enzyme, GAPDH, which regulates insulin pathwaysa finding that offers a new direction for the treatment of diabetes. The research is reported in the most recent issue of the journal Nature Chemical Biology. The enzyme GAPDH was previously unknown to be a factor in the development of diabetes in humans. It has also been discovered that the inhibition of GAPDH attenuates the diabetic disease symptom in model animals.The research team, which included NYUs Departments of Biology and Chemistry and Scripps Department of Cell Biology, used the worm Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) to identify a new therapeutic target protein for diabetic treatment. C. elegans is the first animal species where RNA interference (RNAi) is discovered and thus, an excellent model organism for chemical genetic research. In this study, the researchers screened hundreds of chemical compounds to find one hit compound, which rescues the mutant C. elegans (diabetics model) from diabetes. Then, they identified the target protein, which was found to be the enzyme GAPDH. GAPDH has long been known as one of the important glycolytic enzymes, and its function is affected by insulin. However, this is the first discovery that GAPDH actively regulates the insulin pathway. The research team constructed all the molecules by incorporating the fishing tag (linker) from the beginning, and facilitated the target fishing. The hit compound was named GAPDS (GAPDH segregator) as GAPDS disassemble the multi-part structure of GAPDH into monomers. The segregation of GAPDH releases the suppressor of insulin signaling from the cell membrane, and thus activates the insulin signaling to eventually help to treat diabetes.While the C-elegans is a recommended model for chemical genetic study, treating them with chemical compounds presented difficulties for the researchers because they grow on the surface of agar. To overcome these challenges, the researchers devised a soaking method in which the worms were placed in a compound solution for 24 hours. By this method, the worms were exposed to equitable concentration of the compounds. The mutant C-elegans are in a growth arrested status. By addition of compounds, a re-growing of the worms into normal size was observed by GAPDS, which is analogous to treating diabetes patients with a drug. While there are many drugs on the market to treat diabetes, the number of known disease-producing protein targets is small. Because diabetes has many causes, targeting several different proteins offers the most promising method for treatment. The discovery of GAPDH adds another target that can be addressed in combating the disease.

Holiday Gluttony Can Spell Disaster for Undiagnosed Diabetics

Posted by dlife on Tue, Nov 21, 06, 08:19 AM 0 Comment

November 21, 2006 (Newswise) Hearty feasts and couch-potato marathons are holiday traditions, but UT Southwestern Medical Center experts warn that packing on pounds and not exercising could be deadly for the 6 million Americans who have diabetes and dont even know it.Diabetes, a metabolic disorder linked with obesity, can be a silent killer because its symptoms arent sudden, but build up over time and lead to heart disease or other maladies.Thats bad news for those with undiagnosed diabetes.The obesity epidemic is surging and people dont realize theyre setting themselves up to develop diabetes. Theyre like ticking time bombs, said Dr. Manisha Chandalia, an endocrinologist at UT Southwestern. Without treatment, high levels of blood sugars in the body can damage blood vessels and nerves over time, leading to high cholesterol, hypertension, stroke, kidney disease and amputations.If you are age 40 or older, obese, lack physical activity or have a family history of diabetes, Dr. Chandalia recommends making time during the holidays to visit a doctor for a diabetes test. Symptoms include excessive thirst or hunger, dramatic weight loss, fatigue, frequent urination or blurry vision.The holidays also are a perfect time to start getting healthy, she said, offering these tips: Set consistent meal times. Avoid fast food. At parties, cut food portions in half or dont eat large portions of food, even healthy food. Eat skinless chicken or turkey. Use low-calorie ingredients when making treats. Exercise regularly. Go on walks to see holiday displays. If you are an appropriate weight for your age, maintain your weight. In certain ethnicities, such as Asians, even modest weight gain can set the stage for developing diabetes.Long-term tips include: If you are overweight, try to lose 5 percent to 7 percent of your body weight through exercise and eating right. Exercise regularly. Walk at least 30 minutes a day. Eat a nutritious diet high in fiber and whole grain. Reduce the intake of high-calorie food.Various research studies have shown that maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, weight management and regular exercise can prevent the development of diabetes or help control an existing condition, said Dr. Chandalia, an associate professor of internal medicine.Diabetes has several basic forms and stages:Pre-diabetes: People have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels but the levels are not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis.Type 1: The immune system attacks insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, requiring insulin to survive. This typically affects children.Type 2: The body cant efficiently use its own insulin and insulin production cant keep up with the high demand, so glucose builds up in the blood and the body cant burn the blood sugars that are its main source of fuel. This is normally associated with older age, obesity, diabetic family history, physical inactivity and certain ethnicities, but is increasingly diagnosed in overweight children as well.With about 14 million diagnosed cases of type 1 or type 2 diabetes and 6 million undiagnosed cases, its vital to stay healthy during the holidays, Dr. Chandalia said.Keep in mind, she said, that it takes more than avoiding sugary treats.Diabetes doesnt occur just because of eating sugar. Sugar, as any other food, provides excess calories that can lead to obesity and a predisposition to diabetes, Dr. Chandalia said. If you dont eat sugar, and continue to eat extra calories from other foods, you may still develop diabetes.

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