Fatty acids related to diabetes and obesity produced from enzymes can be used to treat arthritis and leukemia, found a new study.
The study led by Washington University School of Medicine examined genetically engineered mice, and explained that the same enzymes involved in turning carbohydrates into the building blocks of fats also influence the health of specialized white blood cells called neutrophils.
The researchers described that Neutrophils are the most abundant type of white blood cell and a hallmark of inflammation, which was a key component of rheumatoid arthritis, and high levels of neutrophils are also common in patients with leukemia.
Irfan J. Lodhi, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and author of the study said that the link between these enzymes and neutrophils was a big surprise for them, and before these findings they never thought about treating rheumatoid arthritis or leukemia by targeting enzymes that produce fatty acids.
The study analyzed that mice that wasn't able to make enzymes needed to produce a certain type of fat, in fact it abruptly lost weight and developed extremely low white blood cell counts, with very few neutrophils, with the result the researchers believed that eliminating, ether lipids might be the best approach because neutrophils are important infection fighters.
Clay F. Semenkovich, MD, the Herbert S. Gasser Professor of Medicine said that if they would be able to reduce the activity of these enzymes without eliminating them entirely, than it could lower the levels of ether lipids and potentially help the patients suffering from leukemia and inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.
The researchers learned that to limit the production of ether lipids might lower neutrophil levels only temporarily, so that when treatment stops, a patient's neutrophil count gradually would rise, allowing the immune system to return to normal.
The study is published in the journal Cell Metabolism.