Neurodegeneration in Diabetic Retina and Its Potential Drug Targets
Mohammad Shamsul Ola,
Abdullah S. Alhomida.
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is one of the major complications of diabetes causing vision loss and blindness
worldwide. DR is widely recognized as a neurodegenerative disease as evidenced from early changes at cellular and
molecular levels in the neuronal component of the diabetic retina, which is further supported by various retinal functional
tests indicating functional deficits in the retina soon after diabetes progression. Diabetes alters the level of a number of
neurodegenerative metabolites, which increases influx through several metabolic pathways which in turn induce an
increase in oxidative stress and a decrease in neurotrophic factors, thereby damage retinal neurons. Loss of neurons may
implicate in vascular pathology, a clinical signs of DR observed at later stages of the disease. Here, we discuss diabetesinduced
potential metabolites known to be detrimental to neuronal damage and their mechanism of action. In addition, we
highlight important neurotrophic factors, whose level have been found to be dysregulated in diabetic retina and may
damage neurons. Furthermore, we discuss potential drugs and strategies based on targeting diabetes-induced metabolites,
metabolic pathways, oxidative stress, and neurotrophins to protect retinal neurons, which may ameliorate vision loss and
vascular damage in DR.
Keywords: Metabolites, neurodegeneration, neurotrophic factor, neurons, retina.
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