Yorek to trial fish oil compound as treatment for diabetic peripheral neuropathy

Mark Yorek, PhD, professor in Endocrinology and Metabolism, along with his co-PI Rodica Pop-Busui, MD, PhD, University of Michigan, received a four-year, $2.6M grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. With the R01 “Effects of Fish Oil Salsalate on the Omega-3 Index and the Circulating Lipodome of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Metabolites in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes and Diabetic Neuropathy,” Yorek and Pop-Busui will continue to examine the use of omega-3 fatty acids as a treatment for diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN).

Peripheral neuropathy affects half of patients with diabetes and threatens quality of life with increased pain and higher mortality risks. However, there is no recognized treatment for DPN. Yorek’s pre-clinical studies found that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids commonly found in fish oil and salsalate, an aspirin-like compound, slow progression of DPN and initiate nerve damage repair.

With funding from the grant, the study aims to advance the combination of fish oil and salsalate to DPN clinical trials.

“We believe that fish oil in a concentration-dependent manner will increase the omega-3 index to therapeutic levels independent of salsalate,” Yorek said. “We also believe that combining fish oil and salsalate vs. fish oil alone will more effectively increase the circulating pro-resolving mediators of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and reduce markers of inflammation to a greater extent than fish oil alone.”

As they take steps toward DPN clinical trials, these studies have the potential to improve the quality of life for all patients with diabetes.

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