Sunday, January 22, 2012

Early Diagnosis of Diabetic Retinopathy

The earlier the diagnosis the better the outcome. This is especially true with autoimmune diseases like Diabetic Retinopathy (DR). DR is the leading cause of blindness among persons of working age in the industrialized world. Here I feature a publication that shows axoglial alterations at the distal portion of the optic nerve could be the first structural change in the diabetic visual pathway. This could prove good news for discovering better therapies thus preventing blindness: Diego C. Fernandez, Laura A. Pasquini, Damián Dorfman, Hernán J. Aldana Marcos, Ruth E. Rosenstein. Early Distal Axonopathy of the Visual Pathway in Experimental Diabetes. doi:10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.09.018

Oligodendrocytes are responsible for insulating axons. Disruptions in the formation of oligodendrocytes could initiate the domino effect that leads to decreasing and eventual total loss of vision. The authors, for example, discovered that in diabetic rats, oligodendrocyte lineage (OL) cells showed hypertrophic somas and a high number of processes.

Images/Data: OL linage evaluation. Immature OL (O1+ cells) and OL precursor (PDGFR-α+ cells) were evaluated by immunostaining and measured as optical density (OD) per section. In the distal ON from animals that were diabetic for 6 weeks, significantly increased O1 and PDGFR-α immunostaining was observed, with the presence of disorganized and hypertrophic cells. Data are mean ± SEM (n = 5 animals per group); *P < 0.01 versus age-matched controls, by Student′s t-test. Scale bar = 50 μm.

At the ultrastructural level, alterations and loss of larger axons were observed in the distal ON from animals that were diabetic for 6 weeks. In these fibers, myelin was highly disorganized, and frequent lamellar membranous bodies were observed.

I will track new develops in this research and post relevant results here.

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