Heart blocks in Diabetics – key mechanism unraveled
Diabetes is known as a silent killer – most notably because of its effects on the blood vessels.
Diabetes can affect the smaller blood vessels (microvascular complications) leading to disease of the retina or the kidney.
Or, the effect of Diabetes can be on large blood vessels (macrovascular) leading to heart disease (cardiomyopathy) or on the large blood vessels leading to hardening of these vessels (atherosclerosis).
What is Atherosclerosis
What are the risk factors for Atherosclerosis?
The risk of atherosclerosis is universal in all humans, but various factors increase the tendency in some groups; Hypertension, Diabetes, High cholesterol and lipids, smoking, excessive alcohol are some of the most important of these factors which increase this tendency.
What is the mechanism of accelerated atherosclerosis in Diabetes?
So far it was known that the high blood glucose levels in Diabetes was somehow responsible for this effect, but the exact mechanism had not been worked out in full detail.
While controlling blood glucose remains the major target for any diabetic, it also remains a challenge due to difficulties in maintaining strict control over diet, as well as emergence of some problems, such as insulin resistance.
Researchers have recently found that the high blood glucose in diabetics increases a specific enzyme called the Protein Kinase C (PKC) in the endothelium (the inner lining membrane of the blood vessels).
Activation of the PKC enzyme has been shown to have an increased effect in fatty deposits in blood vessels, accelerating the atherosclerotic process.
This data has come conclusively from recent studies done on laboratory rats, which were genetically modified to make them prone to diabetic macrovascular complications.
Drug trials on various agents which can inhibit the PKC enzyme have only been partially successful; this is partly because there are many variants of the PKC enzyme in a person’s body, and to be effective, a drug should be able to block all the various isoforms.
Further clinical trials are being planned with drugs designed to block all the PKC isoforms, and these studies should help us understand whether blocking this mechanism can prevent some or all complications of diabetes.Leave a reply →