Blood vessel problems are a common diabetes complication. Many of the nearly 26 million Americans with the disease face the prospect of amputations, heart attack, stroke and vision loss because of damaged vessels.
Reporting in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the Washington University researchers say studies in mice show that the damage appears to involve two enzymes, fatty acid synthase (FAS) and nitric oxide synthase (NOS), that interact in the cells that line blood vessel walls.
“We already knew that in diabetes there’s a defect in the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels,” says first author Xiaochao Wei, PhD. “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.”
Wei studied mice that had been genetically engineered to make FAS in all of their tissues except the endothelial cells that line blood vessels. These so-called FASTie mice experienced problems in the vessels that were similar to those seen in animals with diabetes.
“It turns out that there are strong parallels between the complete absence of FAS and the deficiencies in FAS induced by lack of insulin and by insulin resistance,” Semenkovich says.
Comparing FASTie mice to normal animals, as well as to mice with diabetes, Wei and Semenkovich determined that mice without FAS, and with low levels of FAS, could not make the substance that anchors nitric oxide synthase to the endothelial cells in blood vessels.
“We’ve known for many years that to have an effect, NOS has to be anchored to the wall of the vessel,” Semenkovich says. “Xiaochao discovered that fatty acid synthase preferentially makes a lipid that attaches to NOS, allowing it to hook to the cell membrane and to produce normal, healthy blood vessels.”
In the FASTie mice, blood vessels were leaky, and in cases when the vessel was injured, the mice were unable to generate new blood vessel growth.
The actual mechanism involved in binding NOS to the endothelial cells is called palmitoylation. Without FAS, the genetically engineered mice lose NOS palmitoylation and are unable to modify NOS so that it will interact with the endothelial cell membrane. That results in blood vessel problems.
In one set of experiments, the researchers interrupted blood flow in the leg of a normal mouse and in a FASTie mouse.
“The control animals regained blood vessel formation promptly,” Semenkovich says, “but that did not happen in the animals that were modified to be missing fatty acid synthase.”
It’s a long way, however, from a mouse to a person, so the researchers next looked at human endothelial cells, and they found that a similar mechanism was at work.
“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,” Wei says. “We also have been able to demonstrate that palmitoylation of nitric oxide synthase is impaired in diabetes, and if we can find a way to promote the palmitoylation of NOS, even independent of fatty acid synthase, it may be possible to treat some of the vascular complications of diabetes.”
And it shouldn’t matter whether a person has type 1 diabetes and can’t manufacture insulin or the more common type 2 diabetes, in which a person becomes resistant to insulin.
“That’s one of the key findings,” Semenkovich says. “It won’t matter whether it’s an absence of insulin or resistance to insulin: both are associated with defects in FAS.”
Wei X, Schneider JG, Shenouda SM, Lee A, Towler DA, Chakravarthy MV, Vita JA, Semenkovich CF. De novo lipogenesis maintains vascular homeostasis through endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (eNOS) palmitoylation, Journal of Biological Chemistry, vol. 286(4), pp. 2933-2945. Jan. 28, 2011.
This work was supported by grants from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health and by awards from the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association.
Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children's hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.
Jim Dryden | EurekAlert!
Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel
Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy