A new study has revealed the identity of a crucial mechanism that may to contribute to blood vessel damage in people suffering from diabetes .
The work, by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, involved examining mice for damage brought about by the enzymes, fatty acid synthase (FAS) and nitric oxide synthase (NOS), that both interact in the cells that line walls of blood vessels .
The mice were genetically engineered to make FAS in all of their tissues apart from the endothelial cells that line blood vessels. The mice then experienced problems in the blood vessels in a similar way as that seen in animals with diabetes . It was shown that there are strong parallels between a total lack of FAS and the deficiencies in FAS induced by lack of insulin and by insulin resistance .
Xiaochao Wei, the lead author of the research published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, commented “We already knew that in diabetes there’s a defect in the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels.”
He added ” People with diabetes also have depressed levels of fatty acid synthase. But this is the first time we’ve been able to link those observations together.”
The researchers went on to explore human endothelial cells, finding a similar mechanism at work. Wei said “Our findings strongly suggest that if we can use a drug or another enzyme to promote fatty acid synthase activity, specifically in blood vessels, it might be helpful to patients with diabetes .”

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