Silencing a gene may benefit cardiovascular health of diabetics

Silencing a particular gene may eliminate much of the cardiovascular risk associated with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, according to a new study from Canadian researchers.

By using genetically programmed mice for the study, scientists from the University of Western Ontario were able to analyze the effects of eliminating certain genes from their DNA. They reported in the Journal of Translational Medicine that mice who lacked the TLR4 gene had a significantly lower risk of developing a condition that frequently leads to heart attacks and other complications.

Hyperglycemic cardiac apoptosis is a condition in which cardiovascular cells begin to die as a result of prolonged elevated blood sugar levels. It is common in individuals who have lived with diabetes for many years, and frequently results in heart attacks.

However, researchers found that by silencing the TLR4 gene in their mouse model, the risk of hyperglycemic cardiac apoptosis was dramatically reduced.

Researchers said that the findings could pave the way for future gene therapies that could curb the risk of a heart attack for diabetics.