Drug works with omega-3s to prevent diabetes

A new drug the prevents diabetes in obese mice apparently works by stabilizing metabolites of an omega-3 fatty acid called DHA. (Credit: iStockphoto)

A new drug prevents and may even reverse diabetes, according to a study with obese mice.

The research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, involves a potent enzyme inhibitor that dramatically reduces inflammation and pain.

“Our previous studies show the drug we are working on will reduce the symptoms of diabetes in mice by itself,” says Bruce Hammock, professor of entomology and nematology at the University of California, Davis, “but the excitement about Joan Clària’s work is that if the mice have a genetically increased level of omega-3 fatty acids, the drug offers prevention or cure in mice.”

Clària is an associate professor at the Barcelona University School of Medicine and a senior consultant at the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona.

The new drug, an enzyme called soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) inhibitor, apparently works by stabilizing metabolites of an omega-3 fatty acid called DHA. These metabolites are thought to contribute to the beneficial effects of a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, Hammock says.

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Previous research showed that the enzyme reduces or reverses such diabetes-linked medical issues as renal failure, hypertension, diabetic pain, hardening of the arteries, and heart failure.

“This exciting research brings mechanistic detail to understanding how omega-3 fatty acids in the diet exert important health effects,” says J. Bruce German, director of the Foods for Health Institute at UC Davis, who was not involved in the new research.

The National Institutes of Health and grants to Clària and Hammock funded the study.

Source: UC Davis