Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

EVMS researchers identify potential target for treatment of obesity-related diseases

15.04.2010
EVMS scientists recently presented preliminary research findings that identify a specific gene as a potential new target for treating obesity-related diseases.

Two research studies funded by grants from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) examined the role of a gene called STAT4 in the development of Type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related cardiovascular diseases. The research was presented at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Heart Association’s Council on Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

“We’ve known for some time that STAT4 is a ‘gene switch,’ meaning it is one of the genes that regulates or ‘turns on’ immune cells. But, our preliminary findings indicate that STAT4 is also involved in the metabolic process,” says Anca D. Dobrian, PhD, assistant professor of physiology and lead author of one of the studies.

“Specifically, we’ve found that STAT4 appears to be involved in insulin resistance as well as the development of atherosclerosis,” adds Elena V. Galkina, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology and molecular cell biology. “Assuming these results in rodent-models hold true for humans, STAT4 offers a potentially attractive target for therapy.”

Early findings in these studies indicate that insulin resistance and atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by the thickening of artery walls due to fatty plaque deposits, occur in conjunction with elevated levels of STAT4.

The researchers learned that eliminating STAT4 in rodent models reduced the development of atherosclerosis. Similarly, eliminating STAT4 in rodent models given a high-fat diet revealed that while the rodents gained the same amount of weight as rodents with the gene, they did not develop insulin resistance — which is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes and other heart problems.

“Basically,” says Jerry Nadler, MD, director of the EVMS Strelitz Diabetes Center, chair of internal medicine and co-author on both papers, “it appears that excess STAT4 is working in hyper-drive, leading to inflamed fat which can produce these problems. This is significant because prior to this study, no one knew that STAT4 was involved in insulin resistance or atherosclerosis.”

These findings lay the groundwork for pivotal follow-up studies on the relationship between metabolic responses and immunity.

“Now that we know STAT4 is a factor,” Dr. Dobrian says, “the next steps will be to work on better understanding the mechanisms behind it with the ultimate goal of developing a drug that blocks or inhibits STAT4, without eliminating it entirely.“

The doctors say that STAT 4 is a particularly attractive target for treatment because it exists in only a few cell types throughout the body, and, therefore, any drug that regulates the gene’s expression to maintain normal levels is less likely to cause other side effects.

“This is an important first step in identifying a new target for treatment of the most urgent health problem throughout not only the United States, but much of the developed world,” Dr. Galkina says. “If we can develop a way to reduce the health problems associated with obesity, we can save a lot of people.”

Drs. Galkina and Dobrian also are funded by research grants from the American Heart Association.

About EVMS:
Eastern Virginia Medical School was established in 1973 to provide better health care options for Hampton Roads. The EVMS focus on teaching, discovering and caring ensures high-quality medical education for aspiring physicians and health professionals; the advancement of innovative medical research; and high-quality, patient-centered care.

Jina Gaines | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.evms.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nesting aids make agricultural fields attractive for bees
20.07.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht The Kitchen Sponge – Breeding Ground for Germs
20.07.2017 | Hochschule Furtwangen

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

Leipzig HTP-Forum discusses "hydrothermal processes" as a key technology for a biobased economy

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers create new technique for manipulating polarization of terahertz radiation

20.07.2017 | Information Technology

High-tech sensing illuminates concrete stress testing

20.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

First direct observation and measurement of ultra-fast moving vortices in superconductors

20.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>