A biological link between diabetes and heart failure has been identified by researchers at the UC Davis Health System. The study, published in the journal Nature, identified a biological pathway that is activated when blood sugar levels are abnormally high, causing a condition called cardiac arrhythmia.
"The novel molecular understanding we have uncovered paves the way for new therapeutic strategies that protect the heart health of patients with diabetes," said Donald Bers, chairman of the UC Davis Department of Pharmacology andsenior author of the study.
Gerald Hart, one of the co-researchers, added that the findings may have even further reaching effects.
"[T]his represents the most clear-cut mechanistic study to date of how high glucose can directly affect the function of a critical regulatory protein," Hart said. "The Bers group's findings undoubtedly will lead to development of treatments for diabetic cardiovascular disease and, potentially, therapeutics for glucose toxicity in other tissues that are affected by diabetes such as the retina, the nervous system and the kidney."
The American Heart Association estimates that roughly 65 percent of people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.