Why diabetes patients are at risk for microvascular complications

Now investigators from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have discovered that a molecule called PGC-1alpha -- which has previously been shown to spur the growth of blood vessels in muscle -- has the opposite effect in the endothelial cells of patients with diabetes, impairing blood vessel growth and leading to dangerous vascular complications.

Reported on-line today in the journal Cell Metabolism, the new findings not only help explain the molecular mechanisms underlying microvascular disease in diabetes patients, they also suggest that because PGC-1alpha has opposing effects in different cell types, its role as a potential new therapeutic target should be pursued with caution.

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