Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Mortality

Molecule found that may be involved in the more lethal form of heart disease in type 1 diabetes 

Heart disease is common in patients with diabetes. And doctors assumed that the path to heart disease was likely to be the same for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Now researchers at Jefferson have identified a unique molecular pathway that may explain some of the differences, which could lead to a better understanding of the processes that drive heart disease in type 1 diabetes. The research was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

While type 2 diabetes patients are more likely to develop heart disease, type 1 patients are more likely to die from it. Khadija Rafiq, an Assistant Professor at the Center for Translational Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University and colleagues looked for differences in gene expression in mouse models of type 1 diabetes versus normal mice in the hope of discovering clues to explain the more lethal version of cardiac disease. Using microarrays, a tool that picks up levels of active genes, the researchers found 10 genes associated with the type 1 diabetes in mice. The gene with the highest expression was called HMGCS2.

Using a software called Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA), the researchers examined what HMGCS2 normally does in the body. Although they found it was involved in ketone synthesis – a mechanism used by the liver to capture and store energy in ketone bodies, for later use by other organs – it was never explored in type 1 diabetes-related heart disease. Dr. Rafiq’s finding that HMGCS2 was expressed in the heart of type 1 diabetic mice suggest that it may play a role in the development of heart disease as well.

Further studies will be needed to better understand how HMGCS2 contributes to heart disease. “But the molecule is a very promising and new lead for the field,” says Dr. Rafiq.

If you are considering cardiology services, please visit Jefferson Cardiology for more information about our experts.

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