Diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma are major diseases that cause blindness in a high percentage of the population. However, the precise mechanisms involved in the onset and the progression of these diseases are still not completely known. Recent studies have shown that there appears to be an association between these two disease processes because the incidence of glaucoma is higher in diabetic patients than in non-diabetic patients. To reduce the number of patients with vision loss from these diseases, new therapeutic strategies must be established to prevent the development and the progression of these diseases. In this report, we focus on the biochemical links between diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, viz., an overexpression of extracellular matrix and death of retinal ganglion cells. To establish new therapeutic strategies for both diseases, the biochemical links between diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma and an identification of the factors that are common to the pathogenesis of both diseases, must be determined. In addition, the potential use of gene therapies including antisense oligonucleotides and small interference RNAs should be considered for both diseases. We expect that with the advent of new therapies, a larger number of patients with diabetic retinopathy and/or glaucoma will be cured.
Keywords: Diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, extracellular matrix, retinal ganglion cell death, antisense oligonucleotides, small interference RNA
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