Possible diabetes drug protects against plaque in the arteries

Benedict Jephcote
Thu, 16 Nov 2017
Possible diabetes drug protects against plaque in the arteries
Researchers from the University of Aberdeen have shown that a medication, trodusquemine, is able to protect against plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis) in a study of mice.

When plaque develops in the arteries it causes narrowing of the arteries which increases the risk of major heart problems.

Insulin resistance, high blood sugar and too much carbohydrate in the diet are known to increase the likelihood of plaque formation (atherosclerosis) and heart disease.

Trodusquemine is a PTP1B inhibitor drug that's been developed to reduce insulin resistance and inflammation. It's therefore been put forward as a possible treatment for type 2 diabetes and for breast cancer. Now, researchers are interested in its effects against heart disease.

In their study, the Aberdeen research team tested the drug as a single dose, and with multiple doses, in mice that were bred to develop atherosclerosis.

Mice given trodusquemine reduced weight gain, improved blood glucose levels and reduced triglyceride and total cholesterol levels. What excited the researchers even more was that it helped to decrease atherosclerotic plaque and was effective with just a single dose.

It is worth noting that, as these mice have been bred specifically to develop atherosclerosis, the effects of the drug may be more pronounced in these mice than in regular mice or humans.

Professor Jeremy Pearson, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, who helped to fund the study, stated: "Trodusquemine is in early clinical trials for the treatment of diabetes. This study shows it can also limit the build-up of fatty atherosclerotic plaques in mice. If we see the same effect in patients, the drug may prove even more useful than currently hoped for."

The researchers are now keen to test whether the drug can treat atherosclerosis in humans.

The study findings have been published in the Clinical Science journal.
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