Vascular Complications for Diabetics Caused by a Single Missing Enzyme
Many complications of diabetes are related to one single missing enzyme in the diabetic. Some common vascular complications include amputations, heart attack and blindness. These complications are all accused by damage done to the blood vessels.
The Missing Enzyme - Fatty Acid Synthase
According to Xiaochao Wei, PhD, of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, all that vascular damage may be caused by a shortage of one enzyme called fatty acid synthase, or FAS.
Nitric Oxide Synthase
For the human body to be able to carry out the process of healing and forming new blood vessels, another important enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS), must be securely attached to the blood vessel wall. That is where the enzyme fatty acid synthase is needed and in diabetics, it is often missing.
Lab mice that had been genetically engineered so their bodies did not contain FAS in the endothelial cells that line their blood vessels could not make the molecule that attaches NOS to the blood vessel cells. As a result, in the FAS-less mice, blood vessels were leaky and more vulnerable to the consequences of infection. In addition, the mice were unable to repair the blood vessel damage or generate new blood vessel growth.
“When Wei looked at human endothelial cells, he saw a similar mechanism. Wei hopes that using a drug or other enzyme to promote FAS activity in blood vessels might eventually solve some of the vascular problems experienced by some diabetics,”