James and Jean Culver Vision Discovery Institute: Faculty Research and Publications
Alteration of growth factors and neuronal death in diabetic retinopathy: what we have learned so farPurpose: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a leading cause of blindness in American adults. Over the years, DR has been perceived as a vascular disease characterized by vascular permeability, macular edema, and neovascularization that can lead to blindness. Relatively new research on neurodegeneration is expanding our views of the pathogenesis of DR. Evidence has begun to point to the fact that even before vascular complications begin to manifest, neuronal cell death and dysfunction have already begun. Based on the literature and our own studies, we address whether neuronal death is associated with loss of neurotrophic support due to less production of a given growth factor or due to impairment of its signaling events regardless of the level of the growth factor itself.