Diabetic retinopathy is generally considered as a microvascular disease
which develops as a result of chronic hyperglycaemia. However, the neuronal
apoptosis and reactive gliosis are recently postulated as early changes in diabetic
retinopathy. This phenomenon is described as a neurodegeneration and suggests that
diabetic retinopathy should be recognized as a neurovascular complication. In this
review, we discuss the mechanisms leading to the neurodegeneration of the retina in
diabetic patients including: low-grade inflammatory process, oxidative stress, activation
of polymorphonuclear neutrophils, glutamate excitotoxicity and imbalance in the
neuroprotective factors. Secondly, we point out the clinical significance of measuring
the retinal neurodegeneration.
Keywords: Diabetes mellitus, diabetic retinopathy, inflammatory process, neurodegeneration, oxidative stress, retina.
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport