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Fruit fly model for studying uric acid diseases developed

Researchers have created a fruit fly model to investigate uric acid-related diseases such as diabetes to aid in drug development.

A new model for studying diseases associated with high uric acid levels has been developed. According to the researchers, their fruit fly model could be used to study and improve treatments for conditions such as gout.

The research was conducted by Buck Institute, US. To better understand diseases such as obesity and diabetes and to develop drugs for these conditions, the team created a strain of fruit fly that builds up uric acid in its body when triggered by a high-purine diet.

They revealed that an insulin-like signalling pathway plays a role in regulating uric acid levels. They also demonstrated that they could lower uric acid levels in the fly by suppressing this pathway. Inhibiting free radicals via Vitamin C or through the NOX suppressor gene, they were able to reduce the effects of uric acid accumulation and improve fruit fly survival.

The researchers discovered that three genes are associated with uric acid levels in the fruit fly model, which could be potential targets for drug development.

Previous studies have also identified several genes associated with high uric levels, but their causal role in altering uric acid pathologies could be further studied. The team suggest their fruit fly model as a method to investigate these genes.

…they could lower uric acid levels in the fly by suppressing this pathway”

“Uric acid is important for longevity,” said lead researcher Pankaj Kapahi. “Gout, the most common inflammatory arthritis, is associated with premature mortality. We think this work could help establish uric acid as a biomarker of ageing.”

The findings were published in PLOS Genetics.

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