Researchers from UT Health San Antonio have solved the 100-year-old mystery of what activates magnesium ions in the cell. The discovery is expected to be a springboard for future development of novel drugs to treat cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders such as diabetes and other diseases.
Reporting in Cell, scientists in the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine said the magnesium activator is a metabolite called lactate, which is elevated in the blood during intense exercise and in many diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, sepsis and cancer.
“Lactate is a signal that – like a light switch – turns on magnesium ions,” said lead author Madesh Muniswamy, PhD, professor of cardiology in the Long School of Medicine. “On lactate’s signal, the ions rush out of cellular storehouses called the endoplasmic reticulum.”