Type 2 diabetes affects millions around the world. By itself, it prevents your body from properly using sugars from your food. The real problem is the increased risk type 2 diabetes brings with it. It can cause kidney problems and increase your chances of cardiovascular disease fivefold.
Cardiomyopathy is when the heart muscles become large or rigid over time, which progressively weakens the heart. The increased muscle size actually decreases the volume of blood it can pump. Diabetic cardiomyopathy is the diabetes-associated cardiovascular disease.
Diabetic cardiomyopathy differs from standard cardiomyopathy in that it lacks the common precursors coronary arterial disease or hypertension. Diabetic cardiomyopathy has very few effective diagnostic testing methods. Echocardiography is the only diagnostic method available, but that may soon change.
A team from the South African Medical Research Council investigated possible biomarkers for cardiomyopathy. Biomarkers are a gene, protein, or another factor in the body that can track and diagnose diseases. Using a combination of prediction software and lab testing, they sought out new biomarkers for diabetic cardiomyopathy diagnosis.
The team examined the gene expression profiles of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease and identified over two hundred biomarker candidates. They chose the top two, LOXL2 and ETFβ, to test in the laboratory. The team examined the expression of these two candidates in the cardiac tissue of diabetic and non-diabetic mice, and both were elevated in mice with diabetes. ETFβ levels began to decrease after some time, but LOXL2 levels remained elevated.
Both LOXL2 and ETFβ were elevated in the serum of the animals as well. The team followed both candidates levels in mice with progressive diabetic cardiomyopathy. Both LOXL2 and ETFβ levels changed as the hearts progressively got weaker. When they evaluated the two candidates’ predictive strength, they found that neither alone showed statistically significant abilities. Still, together they managed to produce a reasonably predictive ability in the mouse model.
With the prevalence of diabetes, it is a welcome sight to see new diagnostic tools come into view. Combined with new drugs aimed at protecting against diabetic cardiomyopathy, the future looks good. The team concludes, “Most importantly, our data strongly suggest that the combined use of LOXL2 and ETFβ displayed a good predictive power to detect the early onset of DCM and as such, support that the disease progression can be slowed through early intervention.”