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Enzyme Linked to Vessel Damage of Diabetes

Researchers say it may offer new drug target to treat diabetes

THURSDAY, Oct. 2, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- An enzyme linked to blood vessel damage in diabetics may offer a new drug target for treating the disease.

The finding appears in the October issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and their colleagues identified the enzyme called PARP as they searched for the mechanisms through which hyperglycemia (chronically elevated blood sugar) damages blood vessels and nerves.

The damage caused by hyperglycemia results in the serious complications -- including heart disease, blindness and kidney disease -- often suffered by people with diabetes.

This new study found hyperglycemia turns on a trio of tissue-damaging molecular mechanisms by activating the PARP enzyme.

"This research shows that hyperglycemia may exert much, or even all, of the damage that it does to blood vessels by activating this single enzyme," research team leader Dr. Michael Brownlee, an Einstein professor of medicine, says in a news release.

"Drugs that inhibit PARP might therefore offer a highly specific and effective way to protect blood vessels and prevent heart disease in people with diabetes," Brownlee adds.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about diabetes.

SOURCE: Albert Einstein College of Medicine, news release, Oct. 1, 2003
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