Wednesday, October 30, 2013

UC Davis Researchers Discover a Biological Link Between Diabetes and Heart Disease

News Brief by Ming Lin

Researchers at the UC Davis Health System have discovered the specific molecular mechanism that is involved with the link between diabetes and heart disease. This pathway is activated when cardiac arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeats, is caused by high blood sugar levels and may result in heart failure. The study, led by Donald Bers and his team, indicated that high blood glucose levels caused O-GlcNAc, a sugar molecule in heart muscle cells, to bind to CaMKII, a protein kinase that regulates normal calcium levels and heart pumping activity. The interaction between these two molecules leads to the over-activation of CaMKII and triggers cardiac arrhythmias. Experiments in which CaMKII or its binding with O-GlcNAc was inhibited indicated that irregular heart rhythms were prevented. The discovery of this biological pathway gives the potential for the development of additional treatment options for diabetic patients, especially those affected by cardiovascular disease and glucose toxicity in their tissues. More information about this study, titled "Diabetic Hyperglycaemia Activates CaMKII and Arrhythmias by O-Linked Glycosylation," can be found online at 

Reference: UC Davis Health System. "UC Davis Researchers Discover a Biological Link between Diabetes and Heart Disease." UC Davis Health System News. UC Davis Health System, 29 Sept. 2013. Web. 10 Oct. 2013.
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