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Rheumatoid arthritis drug could help lower blood sugar levels

Raghu Kshitiz



Rheumatoid arthritis drug could help lower blood sugar levels. Representational image

BEIJING — A common rheumatoid arthritis drug may be an effective new therapy for lowering blood glucose levels in patients with Type-2 diabetes, a new study has said.

Researchers from the Institute of Comparative Medicine at Yangzhou University in China have discovered that the anti-inflammatory drug leflunomide has highly beneficial effects on diabetes sufferers. And, the findings could offer an exciting alternative to current treatments for Type 2 diabetes.

“We found that lefluonomide targets a protein involved in desensitising the insulin receptor, which is responsible for instructing the cells to start absorbing sugar from the bloodstream”, Xiulong Xu, Professor at the Institute of Comparative Medicine at Yangzhou University in China, said in a paper published in the Journal of Endocrinology.

“We know some inflammatory factors can also desensitise the insulin receptor, and lefluonamide is an anti-inflammatory, so it may be that it controls blood sugar partly by its anti-inflammatory effect,” Xu said.

Researchers said the findings suggested the same therapy could now be introduced as an effective anti-diabetic treatment for humans. They said it would be particularly suitable for patients with both diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

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Rheumatoid arthritis, affecting approximately one per cent of the worldwide population, is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes pain and swelling in the joints.

The anti-inflammatory drug, lefluonamide, lowered blood glucose levels and reversed insulin resistance in mouse models of Type 2 diabetes, which suggests that this therapy could be repurposed as an effective antidiabetic treatment, particularly suitable for patients with both diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Lefluonamide has long been approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis and previous clinical studies have noted that patients taking the drug tended to have lower blood glucose levels and that obese patients lost weight.

However, lefluonomide also acts on other molecular targets in the body. This suggests that more studies are needed to confirm that the anti-diabetic effects observed are solely caused by lefluonamide’s effect on the insulin receptor.

The next step according to Xu is to conduct clinical trials to test if the antidiabetic effect of lefluonamide also occurs in humans as well as mice.

With Agency Inputs

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Urinary, respiratory tract infections may double stroke risk

IANS Indo Asian News Service




Urinary, respiratory tract infections may double stroke risk. Representational Image

NEW YORK — People who are suffering from urinary or respiratory tract infections may face nearly double the risk of heart attacks and strokes than obesity, researchers have warned.

The study — led by a researcher of Indian origin — found that if the frequency of these common infections causing hospitalisation continues for a longer period it may even lead to death.

Patients diagnosed with any one of these common infections were three times more likely to die than those without prior infection after developing heart disease, and almost twice as likely to die if they had a stroke.

“Our figures suggest that those who are admitted to hospital with a respiratory or urinary tract infection are 40 per cent more likely to suffer a subsequent heart attack, and 2.5 times more likely to have a stroke, than patients who have had no such infection, and are considerably less likely to survive from these conditions,” Rahul Potluri, researcher at Britain’s Aston University, said in a statement.

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The effects of the common infections were of similar magnitude among the people suffering from diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol, researchers said.

“It is notable that infection appears to confer as much, if not more, of a risk for future heart disease and stroke as very well established risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes,” Potluri added.

Researchers conducted the study over 34,027 patients who had been admitted with a urinary or respiratory tract infection with an age and sex-matched control group without infection.

Factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, obesity and tobacco use, as well as medical conditions including excess cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease, heart failure and atrial fibrillation were also taken into account.

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