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      Diabetic Retinopathy: Pathophysiology and Treatments

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          Abstract

          Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the most common complication of diabetes mellitus (DM). It has long been recognized as a microvascular disease. The diagnosis of DR relies on the detection of microvascular lesions. The treatment of DR remains challenging. The advent of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy demonstrated remarkable clinical benefits in DR patients; however, the majority of patients failed to achieve clinically-significant visual improvement. Therefore, there is an urgent need for the development of new treatments. Laboratory and clinical evidence showed that in addition to microvascular changes, inflammation and retinal neurodegeneration may contribute to diabetic retinal damage in the early stages of DR. Further investigation of the underlying molecular mechanisms may provide targets for the development of new early interventions. Here, we present a review of the current understanding and new insights into pathophysiology in DR, as well as clinical treatments for DR patients. Recent laboratory findings and related clinical trials are also reviewed.

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          Most cited references56

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          Randomized trial evaluating ranibizumab plus prompt or deferred laser or triamcinolone plus prompt laser for diabetic macular edema.

          Evaluate intravitreal 0.5 mg ranibizumab or 4 mg triamcinolone combined with focal/grid laser compared with focal/grid laser alone for treatment of diabetic macular edema (DME). Multicenter, randomized clinical trial. A total of 854 study eyes of 691 participants with visual acuity (approximate Snellen equivalent) of 20/32 to 20/320 and DME involving the fovea. Eyes were randomized to sham injection + prompt laser (n=293), 0.5 mg ranibizumab + prompt laser (n=187), 0.5 mg ranibizumab + deferred (> or =24 weeks) laser (n=188), or 4 mg triamcinolone + prompt laser (n=186). Retreatment followed an algorithm facilitated by a web-based, real-time data-entry system. Best-corrected visual acuity and safety at 1 year. The 1-year mean change (+/-standard deviation) in the visual acuity letter score from baseline was significantly greater in the ranibizumab + prompt laser group (+9+/-11, P<0.001) and ranibizumab + deferred laser group (+9+/-12, P<0.001) but not in the triamcinolone + prompt laser group (+4+/-13, P=0.31) compared with the sham + prompt laser group (+3+/-13). Reduction in mean central subfield thickness in the triamcinolone + prompt laser group was similar to both ranibizumab groups and greater than in the sham + prompt laser group. In the subset of pseudophakic eyes at baseline (n=273), visual acuity improvement in the triamcinolone + prompt laser group appeared comparable to that in the ranibizumab groups. No systemic events attributable to study treatment were apparent. Three eyes (0.8%) had injection-related endophthalmitis in the ranibizumab groups, whereas elevated intraocular pressure and cataract surgery were more frequent in the triamcinolone + prompt laser group. Two-year visual acuity outcomes were similar to 1-year outcomes. Intravitreal ranibizumab with prompt or deferred laser is more effective through at least 1 year compared with prompt laser alone for the treatment of DME involving the central macula. Ranibizumab as applied in this study, although uncommonly associated with endophthalmitis, should be considered for patients with DME and characteristics similar to those in this clinical trial. In pseudophakic eyes, intravitreal triamcinolone + prompt laser seems more effective than laser alone but frequently increases the risk of intraocular pressure elevation. Copyright 2010 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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            A central role for inflammation in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy.

            Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of adult vision loss and blindness. Much of the retinal damage that characterizes the disease results from retinal vascular leakage and nonperfusion. Diabetic retinal vascular leakage, capillary nonperfusion, and endothelial cell damage are temporary and spatially associated with retinal leukocyte stasis in early experimental diabetes. Retinal leukostasis increases within days of developing diabetes and correlates with the increased expression of retinal intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and CD18. Mice deficient in the genes encoding for the leukocyte adhesion molecules CD18 and ICAM-1 were studied in two models of diabetic retinopathy with respect to the long-term development of retinal vascular lesions. CD18-/- and ICAM-1-/- mice demonstrate significantly fewer adherent leukocytes in the retinal vasculature at 11 and 15 months after induction of diabetes with STZ. This condition is associated with fewer damaged endothelial cells and lesser vascular leakage. Galactosemia of up to 24 months causes pericyte and endothelial cell loss and formation of acellular capillaries. These changes are significantly reduced in CD18- and ICAM-1-deficient mice. Basement membrane thickening of the retinal vessels is increased in long-term galactosemic animals independent of the genetic strain. Here we show that chronic, low-grade subclinical inflammation is responsible for many of the signature vascular lesions of diabetic retinopathy. These data highlight the central and causal role of adherent leukocytes in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy. They also underscore the potential utility of anti-inflammatory treatment in diabetic retinopathy.
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              Retinal neurodegeneration may precede microvascular changes characteristic of diabetic retinopathy in diabetes mellitus.

              Diabetic retinopathy (DR) has long been recognized as a microvasculopathy, but retinal diabetic neuropathy (RDN), characterized by inner retinal neurodegeneration, also occurs in people with diabetes mellitus (DM). We report that in 45 people with DM and no to minimal DR there was significant, progressive loss of the nerve fiber layer (NFL) (0.25 μm/y) and the ganglion cell (GC)/inner plexiform layer (0.29 μm/y) on optical coherence tomography analysis (OCT) over a 4-y period, independent of glycated hemoglobin, age, and sex. The NFL was significantly thinner (17.3 μm) in the eyes of six donors with DM than in the eyes of six similarly aged control donors (30.4 μm), although retinal capillary density did not differ in the two groups. We confirmed significant, progressive inner retinal thinning in streptozotocin-induced "type 1" and B6.BKS(D)-Lepr(db)/J "type 2" diabetic mouse models on OCT; immunohistochemistry in type 1 mice showed GC loss but no difference in pericyte density or acellular capillaries. The results suggest that RDN may precede the established clinical and morphometric vascular changes caused by DM and represent a paradigm shift in our understanding of ocular diabetic complications.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Mol Sci
                Int J Mol Sci
                ijms
                International Journal of Molecular Sciences
                MDPI
                1422-0067
                20 June 2018
                June 2018
                : 19
                : 6
                : 1816
                Affiliations
                Department of Ophthalmology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China; u3003921@ 123456hku.hk
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: amylo@ 123456hku.hk ; Tel.: +852-2831-5363
                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4239-6851
                Article
                ijms-19-01816
                10.3390/ijms19061816
                6032159
                29925789
                d8feacfa-c0f7-4d0c-a2e1-e8f9bcd15cce
                © 2018 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                History
                : 07 March 2018
                : 09 June 2018
                Categories
                Review

                Molecular biology
                vascular pathology,inflammation,retinal degeneration,anti-vegf,laser treatment
                Molecular biology
                vascular pathology, inflammation, retinal degeneration, anti-vegf, laser treatment

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