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Metabolic diseases

Assay screens compounds that target the endoplasmic reticulum

Researchers have developed an assay to monitor the effects of drug candidates on endoplasmic reticulum (pictured) function

Source: Phototake Inc. / Alamy

The endoplasmic reticulum plays a critical role in protein, lipid and glucose metabolism

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) plays a critical role in protein, lipid and glucose metabolism, and interventions that target ER function may be useful therapeutic strategies for metabolic and other pathologies. Now, researchers have developed an assay to monitor the effects of drug candidates on ER function.

Using the new technology, researchers screened various compounds and found that a small molecule, which they named azoramide, was a potent modulator of ER function. They then evaluated azoramide in animal models of obesity and type 2 diabetes and found that the compound improved pancreatic beta-cell function and enhanced insulin sensitivity in peripheral tissues.

The results “provide proof-of-principle for the notion that specific ER modulators can be potential drug candidates for type 2 diabetes”, the researchers conclude in Science Translational Medicine[1] (online, 17 June 2015).

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20068818

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