Drugs developed to treat Alzheimer’s disease could be repurposed to prevent – or even reverse – damage done to the blood vessels of people who are obese or have type 2 diabetes.
People living with conditions including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol have a stiffening of their blood vessels, which puts them at increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Scientists at Leeds and the University of Dundee found that changes to the blood vessels can be triggered by the over-production of an enzyme called BACE1, which in turn creates the protein beta amyloid. Stopping the actions of BACE1 can restore blood vessel health, according to findings published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Drug companies have developed BACE1 inhibitors but, so far, they have proved ineffective in tackling Alzheimer’s disease. It is now hoped that they can be repurposed to tackle stiffening blood vessels.