Apart from identifying the reasons for poor stem cells function in a patient with diabetes, the novel therapy of using microRNA could change the treatment method for heart disease in diabetic individuals.
Type 2 diabetes is a major global health problem and millions of people across the world fall prey to this condition annually. This disease brings with it many other health complications including a higher risk of serious conditions like kidney and heart diseases. These add-on health complications, including diabetic heart disease, add to the mortality rate of people who have diabetes. Now researchers from the University of Otago have discovered one of the reasons why more than 50 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes die from heart disease. And perhaps more significantly, they have found a way to treat it. Also Read – Not all people living with obesity at risk of cardiometabolic diseases: Study
Stem cell therapy is of no help in diabetic heart disease
According to researchers, it is a known fact that stem cells in the heart of diabetic patients are impaired. While stem cell therapy has proved effective in treating heart disease, it is not the case in diabetic heart disease. But till now nobody was able to pinpoint the cause. The new study sheds light on this. Researchers say that it comes down to tiny molecules called microRNA which control gene expression. Based on the results of laboratory testing, they identified the number of microRNAs that are impaired in stem cells of the diabetic heart. Also Read – Diabetic women under 55 at risk of heart disease; Know what to include in your diet
Experts discover the cause of impaired stem cells in diabetic hearts
Among several microRNAs, they identified that one particular microRNA called miR-30c, which is crucial for the stem cells’ survival, growth and new blood vessel formation, is reduced in the diabetic stem cells. All these functions are required for stem cell therapy to be successful in the heart. They also confirmed that this microRNA is decreased in the stem cells collected from the heart tissue of the patients undergoing heart surgery at Dunedin Hospital. Researchers were able to then increase the level of the lacking miR-30c in the heart by a “simple injection.” This resulted in significantly improving the survival and growth of stem cells in the diabetic heart. Also Read – Daily consumption of this nut can reduce the risk of heart diseases in people with diabetes
Hope for new treatment procedure
Researchers are excited by this fascinating discovery, which identifies that impairment in the microRNAs is the underlying reason for the stem cells being not functional in the diabetic heart. More importantly, the results have identified a novel therapy for activation of stem cells in the heart using microRNA, without the need to inject stem cells, which is a time and cost consuming process. The new finding can significantly improve the quality of life and longevity of diabetic patients. Researchers are thrilled also because, apart from identifying the reasons for poor stem cells function in a patient with diabetes, the novel therapy of using microRNA could change the treatment method for heart disease in diabetic individuals. (With inputs from Agencies)