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Researchers identify mechanism behind complications associated with diabetes

Category: Diabetes

For people who have received a positive HbA1c test for diabetes, the greatest risk to their health may be cardiovascular complications related to blood vessel damage. In many diabetics, this situation results in heart disease, stroke, retinopathy and even limb amputation.

However, researchers from Washington University in St. Louis may have discovered the mechanism that leads to these complications, which could allow scientists to formulate new drugs aimed at preventing the damage.

It is well known that constantly high levels of blood sugar cause damage to blood vessels. However, in healthy people, this damage would heal itself. Yet, in diabetics, it does not. This question has puzzled scientists.

The researchers found that the reason the vessels of diabetics do not heal is because diabetics have low levels of two enzymes that play important roles in enabling the function of endothelial cells, which are responsible for rejuvenating vascular tissue.

The development of drugs that boost levels of these two enzymes could result in improved vascular function and a decrease in the number of complications suffered by diabetics.

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