Better understanding of diabetic retinopathy treatment
Monday, October 21 2013 | 00 h 00 min | News
Lowering blood glucose levels is not enough when treating diabetic retinopathy, according to German researchers.
Numerous proteins and molecules are involved in the process of optical signal transduction from the retina to the brain. Diabetic retinal damage leads to impaired function of these proteins. Scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum München (HMGU), in Munich, compared the concentrations of proteins in the retinas of non-diabetic mice, of mice with type 2 diabetes without treatment and of type 2 diabetic mice that were treated with the drug metformin. This treatment lowers blood glucose levels.
In total, 98 proteins were less abundant in the diabetic animals. About half of the proteins were normalized by treatment with metformin, while the others remained insufficient. Among these was the protein VGLUT1, which is essential for visual signal transduction.
“Our results show that normalized blood glucose levels alone are not sufficient to fully treat diabetic retinopathy,” said Dr. Alice Ly, a lead author of the study. “In further studies we want to examine how different combination therapies affect the retinal proteins, in order to achieve a better understanding of the causes and treatment of this diabetes complication.”