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Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have found that an enzyme known as arginase may contribute to the development of angina in patients with type 2 diabetes.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), angina is a cardiovascular condition in which pain in the chest, shoulders, arms, neck and back occurs due to a deficiency of oxygen and blood flow to the heart.
During the study the scientists looked at patients with angina and type 2 diabetes, which can be detected with a blood test. They found that the arginase enzymes inhibit nitric oxide molecules from forming, and according to study investigator John Pernow, M.D., Ph.D., F.E.S.C, plays a crucial role in dilating vessel walls and preventing plaque buildup.
"The fact that we could demonstrate the presence of arginase in several types of cells in the vessel walls gives us an entirely new explanatory model for the development of complications in these patients," said Pernow.
When the subjects were given a medication that suppressed the enzyme, blood flow improved. The researchers also found that the enzyme-inhibiting drug did not help patients with angina who did not have type 2 diabetes and did not affect subjects who did not have any of the conditions.
The Karolinska Institutet researchers are planning a follow-up study, which will test the effects of the enzyme-inhibitor drug on a larger group of subjects.
The NIH reports that many times, angina is caused by coronary heart disease, which is commonly found in adults. There are several different kinds of angina, such as stable angina, unstable angina, variant angina and microvascular angina. Each type is characterized by how often it occurs and the severity of the pain.
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