Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Diabetes - Precautionary Measure

A discovery by scientists may help reduce the risk of people with diabetes losing a limb. Circulatory complications can lead to leg ulcers and gangrene so severe that limb amputation is the only answer. Work by the University of Bristol has pinpointed a protein in cells which could be responsible. It is hoped it could lead to drug treatment to reduce the number of Britons who lose a limb to diabetes from the current 100 each week.
Diabetes, if not properly treated, can lead to a restricted blood supply to the tissues and a reduced capacity to recover from injury due to the body's inability to grow new blood vessels to speed the healing process. This can leave limbs, in particular the legs and feet, vulnerable to ulcers and gangrene. The Bristol team, whose work on mice is featured online in Circulation Research, focused on a protein receptor called p75NTR. It is not found in the cells that line healthy blood vessels which are able to heal rapidly from injury. However, diabetes causes these cells to start producing p75NTR and this appears to undermine the ability to grow the new blood vessels necessary to drive the healing process.

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