Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Potential target for treatment of obesity-related diseases identified

Date:
April 16, 2010
Source:
Eastern Virginia Medical School
Summary:
Scientists have identified a specific gene as potential new target for treating obesity-related diseases. Two recent research studies examined the role of a gene called STAT4 in the development of type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related cardiovascular diseases.

EVMS scientists recently presented preliminary research findings that identify a specific gene as a potential new target for treating obesity-related diseases.

Two research studies funded by grants from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) examined the role of a gene called STAT4 in the development of Type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related cardiovascular diseases. The research was presented at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Heart Association's Council on Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.

"We've known for some time that STAT4 is a 'gene switch,' meaning it is one of the genes that regulates or 'turns on' immune cells. But, our preliminary findings indicate that STAT4 is also involved in the metabolic process," says Anca D. Dobrian, PhD, assistant professor of physiology and lead author of one of the studies.

"Specifically, we've found that STAT4 appears to be involved in insulin resistance as well as the development of atherosclerosis," adds Elena V. Galkina, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology and molecular cell biology. "Assuming these results in rodent-models hold true for humans, STAT4 offers a potentially attractive target for therapy."

Early findings in these studies indicate that insulin resistance and atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by the thickening of artery walls due to fatty plaque deposits, occur in conjunction with elevated levels of STAT4.

The researchers learned that eliminating STAT4 in rodent models reduced the development of atherosclerosis. Similarly, eliminating STAT4 in rodent models given a high-fat diet revealed that while the rodents gained the same amount of weight as rodents with the gene, they did not develop insulin resistance -- which is a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes and other heart problems.

"Basically," says Jerry Nadler, MD, director of the EVMS Strelitz Diabetes Center, chair of internal medicine and co-author on both papers, "it appears that excess STAT4 is working in hyper-drive, leading to inflamed fat which can produce these problems. This is significant because prior to this study, no one knew that STAT4 was involved in insulin resistance or atherosclerosis."

These findings lay the groundwork for pivotal follow-up studies on the relationship between metabolic responses and immunity.

"Now that we know STAT4 is a factor," Dr. Dobrian says, "the next steps will be to work on better understanding the mechanisms behind it with the ultimate goal of developing a drug that blocks or inhibits STAT4, without eliminating it entirely. "

The doctors say that STAT 4 is a particularly attractive target for treatment because it exists in only a few cell types throughout the body, and, therefore, any drug that regulates the gene's expression to maintain normal levels is less likely to cause other side effects.

"This is an important first step in identifying a new target for treatment of the most urgent health problem throughout not only the United States, but much of the developed world," Dr. Galkina says. "If we can develop a way to reduce the health problems associated with obesity, we can save a lot of people."

Drs. Galkina and Dobrian also are funded by research grants from the American Heart Association.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Eastern Virginia Medical School. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Eastern Virginia Medical School. "Potential target for treatment of obesity-related diseases identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100414130834.htm>.
Eastern Virginia Medical School. (2010, April 16). Potential target for treatment of obesity-related diseases identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100414130834.htm
Eastern Virginia Medical School. "Potential target for treatment of obesity-related diseases identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100414130834.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins