Protective molecule, ACE2, also proving its worth in diabetic patients

May 16, 2012

ACE2, a molecule that has been shown to prevent damage in the heart, is now proving to be protective of the major organs that are often damaged in diabetic patients.

Gavin Oudit, a researcher with the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, and his colleagues at the University of Florida, found that lab models that lacked ACE2 had worse cardiovascular complications related to diabetes.

"We show that if you take ACE2 away, they [lab models of diabetes] do very poorly," said Oudit. "It worsened their function and their vascular function."In patients, if you have high levels of ACE2 in your vascular reparative cells you do not get diabetic complications, even if your diabetic control is very poor."

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Oudit's related studies have also looked at another major organ affected by diabetes – the kidneys. ACE2 proved protective in these organs, as well.

"Diabetes is the world's most common cause of blindness and renal failure, so this work is very important," he said.

The next step is to analyze human blood samples from Edmonton's patient population to see the effects of ACE2 in diabetics. The researchers will screen the blood of both Type 1 and Type 2 since they think it's relevant in both.

"We're hoping to show that patients that lack ACE2 are more susceptible to diabetic complications," said Oudit.

Human recombinant ACE2, which is a pure form of this enzyme, is currently moving into Phase 2 clinical trials as a treatment for lung disease. The hope is that its use could then be extended as a pharmaceutical to treat diabetic patients so they can avoid cardiovascular, renal or eye disease.

Oudit's work is published in the May 11th edition of the journal Circulation Research with an accompanying editorial.

Explore further: Research aims to prevent diabetic kidney failure

Related Stories

Research aims to prevent diabetic kidney failure

November 5, 2011
The enzyme arginase-2 plays a major role in kidney failure, and blocking the action of this enzyme might lead to protection against renal disease in diabetes, according to researchers.

The leading cause of death for diabetics: Getting to the heart of problem

February 13, 2012
Millions of people suffer from type 2 diabetes. The leading cause of death in these patients is heart disease. Joseph Hill and colleagues, at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, have now identified, ...

Recommended for you

Biochemical "fingerprints" reveal diabetes progression

August 21, 2017
Researchers from Umeå University in Sweden describe a new method to study biochemical changes that occur in the pancreas during the development of diabetes. The method, recently published in Scientific Reports, is based ...

In a nutshell: Walnuts activate brain region involved in appetite control

August 17, 2017
Packed with nutrients linked to better health, walnuts are also thought to discourage overeating by promoting feelings of fullness. Now, in a new brain imaging study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) ...

Smart mat detects early warning signs of foot ulcers

August 16, 2017
While completing his residency in anesthesiology at Massachusetts General Hospital in the mid-2000s, Jon Bloom saw his fair share of foot amputations among patients with diabetes. The culprit: infected foot ulcers.

The best place to treat type 1 diabetes might be just under your skin

August 14, 2017
A group of U of T researchers have demonstrated that the space under our skin might be an optimal location to treat type 1 diabetes (T1D).

New measure of insulin-making cells could gauge diabetes progression, treatment

August 10, 2017
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a new measurement for the volume and activity of beta cells, the source of the sugar-regulating hormone insulin.

Pioneering immunotherapy shows promise in type 1 diabetes

August 9, 2017
It may be possible to 'retrain' the immune system to slow the progression of type 1 diabetes, according to results of a clinical trial published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.