The focal point of the investigation is the enzyme SNO-CoA-assisted nitrosylase (SCAN) and its physiological role. The team found that SCAN plays a crucial role in attaching nitric oxide to proteins, particularly those essential for insulin response, according to Case Western Reserve University.
This discovery is noteworthy because diabetes is characterized by improper insulin response, resulting in elevated blood sugar levels and, if untreated, leading to various health complications.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes the significance of insulin in diabetes, stating, "With diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Over time, that can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss and kidney disease."
The recent study revealed that blocking the SCAN enzyme protected individuals against diabetes, offering a potential avenue for treatment.
Lead researcher Jonathan Stamler explained, "We show that blocking this enzyme protects from diabetes, but the implications extend to many diseases likely caused by novel enzymes that add nitric oxide."
This breakthrough is particularly significant, as excessive binding of nitric oxide to critical proteins is associated with other serious conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, cancer and heart failure.
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This suggests that an excess of nitric oxide attachment may be a trigger for the disease.
Stamler concluded, "This paper shows that dedicated enzymes mediate the many effects of nitric oxide. Here, we discover an enzyme that puts nitric oxide on the insulin receptor to control insulin. Too much enzyme activity causes diabetes. But a case is made for many enzymes putting nitric oxide on many proteins, and, thus, new treatments for many diseases."
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