Scientists ID Cellular Connetion Between Diabetes and Blood Vessel Narrowing; Further Study Could Confirm Molecular Target for Possible Reduction of Blood Vessel Complications of Diabetes

A team of University of Calfornia (UC)-Davis Health scientists and physicians has identified a cellular connection between diabetes and one of its major complications -- blood vessel narrowing that increases risks of several serious health conditions, including heart disease and stroke. The authors hope their work leads to diabetes treatments -- beyond blood sugar monitoring and insulin therapy -- that target the molecular source of the disease’s damaging effects on the vascular system. The same team previously found that high blood glucose, the hallmark symptom of diabetes, activates an enzyme known as protein kinase A (PKA), which increases calcium channel activity and constricts blood vessels. "This was a surprise, because PKA is typically associated with blood vessel widening and wasn't really on our radar," said senior author Manuel Navedo, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology at UC Davis Health. "We wanted to understand the molecular processes that created this opposite reaction." For the new study, published online on June 4, 2019, in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, the Navedo lab team conducted a series of experiments on the effects of high glucose on cerebral blood vessels and arterial cells that control blood flow. The tests were conducted on a unique genetically modified mouse and two mouse models of diabetes that were developed at UC Davis for studies of cardiovascular health. The open-access article is titled “Adenylyl Cyclase 5-Generated cAMP Controls Cerebral Vascular ReactivityDuring Diabetic Hyperglycemia.”
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