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Drug dramatically reduces diabetes symptoms in mice

Staff writer |
Can diabetes be prevented and even reversed? Yes, it can, at least in genetically obese mice, according to a study by led by researchers Bruce Hammock at the University of California, Davis, and Joan Clària at the University of Barcelona.

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The research involves a potent enzyme inhibitor discovered by Hammock's laboratory that dramatically reduces inflammation, inflammatory pain and neuropathic pain.

In the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an enzyme called soluble epoxide hydrolase, or sEH, inhibitor both prevented the onset of diabetes and reversed the effects of diabetes in obese mice.

"Our previous studies show the drug we are working on will reduce the symptoms of diabetes in mice by itself," Hammock said, "but the excitement about Joan Clària's work is that if the mice have a genetically increased level of omega-3 fatty acids—the drug offers prevention or cure in mice."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3 percent of the population, have diabetes, which is characterized by abnormal blood glucose levels. This includes 8.1 million undiagnosed cases.

The new drug apparently works by stabilizing metabolites of an omega-3 fatty acid called DHA. These metabolites are thought to contribute to the beneficial effects of a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, Hammock said.

Previous UC Davis research in the laboratories of Hammock, Nipavan Chiamvimonvat, Robert Weiss, Anne Knowlton and Fawaz Haj showed that the enzyme reduces or reverses such diabetes-linked medical issues as renal failure, hypertension, diabetic pain, hardening of the arteries and heart failure.