New avenue to treat diabetic retinopathy
Sunday, February 16 2014 | 00 h 00 min | News
Dopamine-restoring drugs already used to treat Parkinson’s disease may also be beneficial for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy.
“There was some evidence already that dopamine levels were reduced in diabetic retinopathy, but what’s new here is: we can restore dopamine levels and improve visual function in an animal model of diabetes,” explains Machelle Pardue, one of the authors of the paper, which appeared in Journal of Neuroscience.
The researchers treated diabetic mice by injecting them with L-dopa, which slowed down the appearance of visual problems by several weeks and lessened the severity of the visual defects. They also discovered that the visual benefits of L-dopa came from the retinas, as the treatment improved retinal responses.
Other dopamine-related treatments were also tested. For example, injecting mice with a D1R receptor agonist improved visual acuity, while a D4R receptor agonist improved contrast sensitivity.
“This shows that treatments targeting dopamine could be beneficial to patients with established diabetes,” concluded co-author Michael Iuvone.