Pulmonary hypertension's links with diabetes and cancer has been discovered by a team of scientists.
Researchers discovered that a protein that plays a critical role in metabolism, the process by which the cell generates energy from foods, is important for the development of pulmonary hypertension, a deadly disease.
Researcher Evangelos Michelakis said that their previous work had suggested that mitochondria, the organelles in the cell that regulate metabolism, are involved in the development of pulmonary hypertension, but they did not know exactly how and they also knew that mitochondria are involved in the development of both cancer and diabetes.
Researcher Roxane Paulin said that they looked at a key regulator of mitochondrial function, a protein called Sirtuin3, and found that in lab models of pulmonary hypertension and, more importantly, in tissues from 160 patients, Sirtuin3 was present in lower amounts and was less active in lab models and patients with pulmonary hypertension than in those without the disease.
Paulin added that they were intrigued to find that lab models that just lacked Sirtuin 3, which have been shown by other researchers to develop diabetes and cancer, developed pulmonary hypertension.
Michelakis believes that this work offers strong support to the theory that pulmonary hypertension has a metabolic basis and may facilitate their efforts to diagnose and treat the disease.
The study is published in the journal Cell Metabolism.