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Novel Methods of Type 1 Diabetes Treatment

Abstract: Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease characterized by the cell-mediated destruction of insulin-producing β-cells, leading to impaired glucose homeostasis, insulin insufficiency, and other complications. Although classic genetic studies have linked numerous genes to the susceptibility of developing diabetes, the mechanisms by which they influence the disease course remain poorly understood. Epigenetics, inheritable changes in gene expression that occur without accompanying genetic mutation, can both serve as a link between the environment and genetic causes of disease and help explain some of the observed vagaries of diabetes. Elucidation of the epigenetic landscape as it relates to putative treatment modalities is highly warranted. Drugs with histone deacetylase activity are in clinical trials for cancer and certain inflammatory diseases with high safety profiles and they hold similar promise for amelioration of type 1 diabetes with diminished secondary complications. Full-fledged studies on the epigenetics of type 1 diabetes are highly likely to provide novel tools for the manipulation of the disease in the years to come. In this review, epigenetic regulation mediated by small molecular inhibitors of histone deacetylases and their potential for preventing diabetes are discussed. Insights into the nature of the genetic mechanisms unraveled by these studies are also highlighted. ... Read more

Antidiabetic Drugs and Their Potential Role in Treating Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer's Disease

Abstract: The incidence of both diabetes mellitus (DM) and dementia increases with aging and the incidence of dementia are higher in people with diabetes. Epidemiological and pathological data suggest that DM contributes to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. DM seems to be an independent risk factor for MCI and Alzheimer's disease (AD) and is associated with more rapid cognitive decline. Recent evidence points out that insulin affects central nervous system functions, and can modulate cognitive functions. Impaired insulin signaling and insulin resistance in brain have been found to play an important role in the pathogenesis of AD. Human studies have shown that some oral antidiabetic medications can improve cognition in patients with MCI and AD. Intranasal insulin has also been shown to improve memory and cognitive abilities in MCI and AD patients. While it remains unclear whether management of diabetes will reduce the incidence of MCI and AD, emerging evidence suggests that diabetes therapies may improve cognitive function. ... Read more

Adipose Tissue Inflammation in Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

Abstract: Metabolic syndrome is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Playing a central role in the development of metabolic syndrome and in its clinical consequences is visceral obesity. Adipose tissue is now considered to be an active endocrine organ that secretes various humoral factors (adipokines), and its shift to production of proinflammatory cytokines in obesity likely contributes to the low-level systemic inflammation that is seen in metabolic syndrome-associated chronic pathologies such as atherosclerosis. Recent studies have shown that obesity induces chronic local inflammation in adipose tissue, and that cells of the innate immune system, particularly macrophages, are crucially involved in adipose inflammation and systemic metabolic abnormalities. Moreover, we and others recently revealed that T cells are key regulators of adipose inflammation, and that the adaptive immune system is also crucially important. In mouse models modulation of T cell function ameliorated not only adipose inflammation but also systemic insulin resistance induced by obesity. Thus clarification of the inflammatory processes ongoing in obese adipose tissue would seem essential for the understanding of metabolic syndrome and for developing novel therapeutic strategies to treat it. ... Read more

Statins Lower Heart Disease Complications Among Diabetic Patients

A recent large clinical trial study concluded that cholesterol lowering statin drugs should be taken by diabetic patients to prevent heart disease complications regardless of their initial cholesterol levels (International Statin Study Group, Lancet 361:2005-2016, June 14, 2003). 5,963 UK adults with diabetes and 14,573 with occlusive arterial disease but no diagnosed diabetes were randomized into the treatment group who received Merck’s Zocor (simvastatin) 40 mg daily and the control group who received the placebo, for 5 years. In the three subgroups of patients evaluated: the diabetic patients with occlusive artery disease, diabetic patients who do not have occlusive artery ... Read more

New Drugs for the Treatment of Hyperkalemia in Patients Treated with Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System Inhibitors -- Hype or Hope?

Abstract: Hyperkalemia (serum potassium >5.5 mmol/L) may result from increased potassium intake, impaired distribution between the intracellular and extracellular spaces, and/or reduced renal excretion. Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors (RAASIs) represent an important therapeutic strategy in patients with hypertension, heart failure, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes, but hyperkalemia is a key limitation to fully titrate RAASIs in these patients who are most likely to benefit from treatment. Thus, we need new drugs to control hyperkalemia in these patients while maintaining the use of RAASIs. We review two new polymer-based, non-systemic agents under clinical development, patiromer calcium and zirconium silicate, designed to increase potassium loss via the gastrointestinal tract for the management of hyperkalemia. ... Read more

Advances in the Etiology and Mechanisms of Type 1 Diabetes

Abstract: Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an insulin-dependent form of diabetes resulting from the autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells. The past few decades have seen tremendous progress in our understanding of the molecular basis of the disease, with the identification of susceptibility genes and autoantigens, the demonstration of several abnormalities affecting various cell types and functions, and the development of improved assays to detect and monitor autoimmunity and beta cell function. New findings about the disease pathology and pathogenesis are emerging from extensive studies of organ donors with T1D promoted by the JDRF nPOD (Network for the Pancreatic Organ Donor with Diabetes). Furthermore, the establishment of extensive collaborative projects including longitudinal follow-up studies in relatives and clinical trials are setting the stage for a greater understanding of the role of environmental factors, the natural history of the disease, and the discovery of novel biomarkers for improved prediction, which will positively impact future clinical trials. Recent studies have highlighted the chronicity of islet autoimmunity and the persistence of some beta cell function for years after diagnosis, which could be exploited to expand therapeutic options and the time window during which a clinical benefit can be achieved. ... Read more

Protective Factors in Diabetic Retinopathy: Focus on Blood-Retinal Barrier

Abstract: The earliest and most significant change in diabetic retinopathy (DR) is blood-retinal barrier (BRB) dysfunction, followed by two main pathologies that may cause severe visual impairment: Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) and Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR). The pathological hallmarks of BRB dysfunction include loss of tight junction integrity, VEGF- and AGE-induced damage, oxidative stress, and inflammatory changes. Recently, several BRB protective factors have been reported. Our aim is to give a review of those protective factors and discuss new potential therapeutic targets for DR. ... Read more

The Heat Shock Response: Its Role in Pathogenesis of Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications, and Implications for Therapeutic Intervention

Abstract: The heat shock response (HSR) is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism that cells and organisms utilize to protect themselves from the damaging effects of stress. Induction of HSR involves a complex multi-step process in which heat shock factor-1 (HSF-1), the key modulator of HSR, is activated, leading to the induction of a variety of heat shock genes. There is evidence that the HSR is defective in diabetes, which makes the tissues vulnerable to stress-induced pathological changes. Consistent with this observation, induction of HSR by either non-pharmacological methods such as hyperthermia or by pharmacological inducers has beneficial effects in managing insulin resistance and hyperglycemia, as well as secondary complications of diabetes, such as cardiovascular disease, nephropathy, neuropathy, and retinopathy as well as wound healing. This review summarizes what is currently known about the role of the HSR in diabetes and therapeutic implications of enhancing HSR in the management of diabetes and its associated complications, focusing on small molecule mediated therapeutics. ... Read more

Advances in the Pharmacotherapy of Patients with Acromegaly

Abstract: Acromegaly is a disease characterized by growth hormone (GH) excess originating, in approximately 95% of cases, from a somatotroph pituitary adenoma. Symptomatology and clinical features are due to GH and insulin-like growth factor 1 excess; unfortunately, for most patients diagnosis is delayed by several years. Acromegaly patients' morbidity and mortality are higher than those of the normal population. However, with adequate biochemical control mortality rates can be restored to normal. Tumor size and location, symptoms, comorbidities, and lastly, but not least, patient preference, are all important aspects in treatment decision making, and treatment approach should be individualized. Current therapy includes medical, surgical, and radiation. This review focuses on recent significant developments in medical therapy. There are three major therapeutic drug classes: somatostatin receptor ligands (SRLs), which represent the mainstay of medical therapy, GH receptor blockers, and dopamine agonists. Multi-ligand receptor SRLs such as pasireotide, should increase therapeutic choices for acromegaly patients currently uncontrolled on available SRLs. Furthermore, significant research has been focused in the development of novel delivery modalities (e.g., oral and long acting subcutaneous administration). ... Read more

Gene Therapy for Obesity: Progress and Prospects

Abstract: Advances in understanding the molecular basis of obesity and obesity-associated diseases have made gene therapy a vital approach in coping with this world-wide epidemic. Gene therapy for obesity aims to increase or decrease gene product in favor of lipolysis and energy expenditure, leading toward fat reduction and loss of body weight. It involves successful delivery and expression of therapeutic genes in appropriate cells. The ultimate goal of gene therapy is to restore and maintain energy homeostasis. Here we summarize progress made in recent years in identifying genes responsible for obesity and present examples where the gene therapy approach has been applied to treating or preventing obesity. Discussion on advantages and limitations of gene therapy strategies employed is provided. The intent of this review is to inspire further studies toward the development of new strategies for successful treatment of obesity and obesity-associated diseases. ... Read more

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