Insulin sensitizer has anti-inflammatory effect in diabetics

SAN FRANCISCO -- A drug used widely as an insulin sensitizer appears also to have a significant anti-inflammatory effect in diabetics, a property that could make it useful in helping to prevent heart disease in these patients, a study by endocrinologists at the University at Buffalo has found.

Results of the research, involving the drug rosiglitazone, were presented here today (June 15, 2002) at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association. Rosiglitazone is sold under the brand name Avandia(r).

UB endocrinologists, led by Paresh Dandona, M.D., professor of medicine and head of the Division of Endocrinology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, have been studying the anti-inflammatory properties of insulin and insulin sensitizers and their potential use in treatment and prevention of atherosclerosis, one of the leading causes of heart attacks.

Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, begins as an inflammation of the blood-vessel wall. Persons with diabetes are at increased risk of developing atherosclerosis and heart disease. Dandona's lab has shown in research with a small group of obese non-diabetic volunteers that rosiglitazone decreased the levels of oxygen free radicals which can begin the inflammation cascade by injuring blood-vessel linings. The drug also decreased the levels of several blood markers of inflammation.

The current study involved 11 obese patients with Type 2 diabetes. In this disease, also referred to as adult-onset diabetes, the body produces adequate amounts of insulin, but cells don't respond to its action. Rosiglitazone is prescribed to break down this resistance to insulin.

Researchers collected blood samples from the diabetic volunteers and started them on a six-week course of daily rosiglitazone. They repeated the blood sampling four times during the six weeks of treatment and again at 12 weeks, and analyzed the samples for concentration of three inflammatory markers and fo

Contact: Lois Baker
716-645-5000 x1417
University at Buffalo

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