A small-molecule inhibitor that has been successfully tested in mice may prove useful against chronic metabolic diseases such as atherosclerosis, obesity and type 2 diabetes, a Nature paper published online suggests.
Gokhan S. Hotamisligil and colleagues treated genetic mice models of various metabolic diseases with a drug that inhibits a protein called aP2. When given orally, the drug molecule reduced the size of atherosclerotic lesions in blood vessels. It also decreased blood glucose levels and increased insulin sensitivity in a model of obesity and insulin resistance.
aP2 is expressed in fat cells and scavenging white blood cells called macrophages, where it mediates metabolic and inflammatory reactions. It's already known that mice genetically manipulated to lack the protein are protected against various aspects of metabolic disease, suggesting that aP2 may prove a useful drug target for these conditions. This study backs this idea up, hinting that aP2 inhibitors may aid the treatment of human cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Gokhan S. Hotamisligil (Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA)
(C) Nature press release.
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