US researchers think they may have identified a method of lowering the risk of stroke and heart attacks in people with diabetes.
A peptide which has a similar effect to insulin has shown to lower blood sugar levels and slow the progression of atherosclerosis in mice. Atherosclerosis is a disease that develops when plaque builds up inside the arteries.
Cardiovascular problems caused by atherosclerosis include stroke and heart attack, and people with diabetes are more at risk of complications than those without diabetes.
Whilst insulin lowers blood sugar levels, it does not reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. This study indicates that the S597 peptide is able to activate insulin receptors as insulin does and also helps to guard against atherosclerosis.
Scientists from the University of Washington School of Medicine conducted a trial where obese mice with weakened glucose tolerance, a sign of prediabetes, were given the S597 peptide.
The S597-treated mice were shown to have fewer white cells, which can rise in response to inflammation caused by obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Following treatment, the mice had lower blood sugar levels and reduced progression of atherosclerotic lesions. The researchers also found lower levels of blood-forming stem cells in the bone marrow were comparable to those found in lean and healthy mice.
“We think that the results of this new study provide a conceptually novel treatment strategy to explore as an additional possibility for protecting against advanced atherosclerosis associated with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes,” said senior author Professor Karin E. Bornfeldt.
Bornfeldt and colleagues believe this study to be the first to report the effects of S597 on the blood vessel system.
One factor that researchers will need to consider is whether the changes in white blood cell count is a completely positive result. White blood cells are part of the immune system’s defence mechanism, and whilst a lower blood cell count may help to slow down atherosclerosis here, there may be a downside of turning down the body’s own repair system.
The results appear in the journal Diabetes.

Get our free newsletters

Stay up to date with the latest news, research and breakthroughs.

You May Also Like

Public Health England considers low carb approach for type 2 diabetes

The low carb approach is being considered by the government to be…

Top diabetes professor drafts risk assessment document for frontline COVID-19 staff

The health and wellbeing of frontline NHS staff has been prioritised among…

Type 2 diabetes found to be a ‘significant risk factor’ among stroke victims

More evidence has been published which supports that diabetes is a “significant…