Does the BACE 1 protein cause blood vessel damage in obesity and diabetes?

BACE1 and endothelial dysfunction in diabetes

Michael L J Ashford (lead researcher)

Dundee, University of

Start date: 01 October 2015 (Duration 3 years)

Professor Michael Ashford is studying ways to prevent blood vessels becoming damaged in obesity and diabetes.

The inner lining of blood vessels, the endothelium, is crucial to keep blood vessels healthy. Endothelial damage is strongly linked with diabetes, poor blood vessel function and heart disease. Understanding how diabetes and obesity damage the endothelium could therefore reveal new ways to treat heart and circulatory disease.

Professor Ashford and his team have found that a protein called BACE1, which is involved in Alzheimer’s disease, also has an important role in diabetes and obesity. Reducing BACE1 activity in obese mice restores endothelial function. In this project, they will find out if BACE1 levels are higher in blood vessels in obese mice and mice prone to atherosclerosis. They will find out if a diet high in fat and sugar increases BACE1 activity, and in turn damages the endothelium leading to blood vessel disease. They will block BACE1 using genetics or drugs and work out if this strategy protects from, or reverses endothelial cell damage.

This research could reveal if BACE1 is also involved in heart and circulatory disease, as well as Alzheimer’s disease.

Project details

Grant amount £289,872
Grant type Project Grant
Start Date 01 October 2015
Duration 3 years
Reference PG/15/44/31574
Status In progress

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