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Pathophysiology of Diabetic Retinopathy: The Old and the New
Sentaro Kusuhara, Yoko Fukushima, Shuntaro Ogura, Naomi Inoue, Akiyoshi Uemura
Diabetes Metab J. 2018;42(5):364-376.   Published online October 22, 2018
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AbstractAbstract PDFPubReader   

Vision loss in diabetic retinopathy (DR) is ascribed primarily to retinal vascular abnormalities—including hyperpermeability, hypoperfusion, and neoangiogenesis—that eventually lead to anatomical and functional alterations in retinal neurons and glial cells. Recent advances in retinal imaging systems using optical coherence tomography technologies and pharmacological treatments using anti-vascular endothelial growth factor drugs and corticosteroids have revolutionized the clinical management of DR. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of DR are not fully determined, largely because hyperglycemic animal models only reproduce limited aspects of subclinical and early DR. Conversely, non-diabetic mouse models that represent the hallmark vascular disorders in DR, such as pericyte deficiency and retinal ischemia, have provided clues toward an understanding of the sequential events that are responsible for vision-impairing conditions. In this review, we summarize the clinical manifestations and treatment modalities of DR, discuss current and emerging concepts with regard to the pathophysiology of DR, and introduce perspectives on the development of new drugs, emphasizing the breakdown of the blood-retina barrier and retinal neovascularization.


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Identification of Novel Drug Targets for the Treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy
Akiyoshi Uemura
Diabetes Metab J. 2013;37(4):217-224.   Published online August 14, 2013
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AbstractAbstract PDFPubReader   

Vision loss in diabetic retinopathy (DR) is attributable to retinal vascular disorders that result in macular edema and neoangiogenesis. In addition to laser photocoagulation therapy, intraocular injections of antivascular endothelial growth factor drugs have contributed to the treatment of these disease conditions. Nonetheless, the clinical feasibility of intraocular drug administration has raised an increasing demand to develop alternative drugs that can fundamentally ameliorate the retinal vascular dysfunctions in DR. For this purpose, experimental animal models that reproduce human DR would be of clinical benefit. Despite the unavailability of DR models in rats or mice, pharmacological and genetic manipulations without hyperglycemia have successfully recapitulated retinal edema and neoangiogenesis in postnatal mouse retinas, thereby enabling the understanding of the pathophysiology underlying DR. This article highlights the utility of experimental mouse models of retinal vascular abnormalities and discusses cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the onset and progression of DR. These approaches will lead to the identification of novel drug targets for the restoration of vascular integrity and regeneration of functional capillaries in DR.


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