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Insulin resistance gene prevents CVD

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the world and in order to solve this, researchers from the Medical College of Georgia observed some genetically fat mice and found out that by eliminating the protein tyrosine phosphatase 1 B, or PTP1 B, they could prevent the risk of CVD.

“Even before you have really bad diabetes, you are walking around obese with your glucose control a little bit off and already beating up your circulation,” said Dr. David Stepp, vascular biologist at the MCG Vascular Biology Center and co-director of MCG’s Diabetes & Obesity Discovery Institute. “That is the point where you need to be intervening.”

PTP1B is one of the genes that contribute greatly to insulin resistance. With this study, the said insulin gene has now become a potential drug component for obese people who may not yet be diabetic but already have trouble with blood glucose control.

Though the reason why cardiovascular function could be improved just by knocking out this gene, Dr. Stepp suspected that theresistance may be due to the nitric oxide, the powerful dilator of blood vessels. “If you are obese, the fasting glucose may be a little bit off but not terrible. What is terrible is you are beginning to lose control,” explained Dr. Stepp, associate professor in the MCG Schools of Medicine and Graduate Studies. Such activity disorients the body cycle thus producing more insulin which makes blood glucose levels soar while the body has decreased ability to use or discard the fuel. “To make matters work, PTP1B is over-expressed in obesity, further hampering the body’s ability todeal with glucose by inappropriately turning off insulin receptors,” he furthered.

According to the study, high glucose level equates to higher levels of super oxides that blocks nitric oxide. “Once you have less nitric oxide, you start getting blood vessel disease,” said Dr. David Fulton, vascular biologist at the Vascular Biology Center and senior investigator for the study. Blood vessels stop dilating as they should, walls become inflamed and thick clots can form giving you the cardiovascular problems.”

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