Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis wanted to find out the reasons behind inflammation in diabetics, which is an underlying cause of various problems such as heart attacks, strokes, kidney problems, and so on. To understand what causes inflammation, the researchers genetically altered mice that were incapable of producing the enzyme for fatty acid synthase in immune cells called macrophages. In the absence of this enzyme, the mice could not synthesize fatty acids. Thus, the external membranes of the cells could not respond to fat from outside the cells, preventing them from contributing to inflammation. Moreover, the lack of macrophages protected the mice from diet-induced diabetes. The researchers plan to test the existing drug compounds that change the lipid composition in cells lower the risk of complications in diabetics. According to them, these findings could be vital in the treatment of other diseases like arthritis, cancer, etc.
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