Current Diabetes Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 329–337 | Cite as

Neuroprotection in Diabetic Retinopathy

Microvascular Complications—Retinopathy (JK Sun, Section Editor)


Diabetic retinopathy (DR) has been considered to be a microcirculatory disease of the retina. However, there is emerging evidence to suggest that retinal neurodegeneration is an early event in the pathogenesis of DR, which may antedate, and also participates in, the microcirculatory abnormalities that occur in DR. Therefore, the study of the underlying mechanisms that lead to neurodegeneration will be essential for identifying new therapeutic targets in the early stages of DR. Elevated levels of glutamate, oxidative stress, the overexpression of the renin-angiotensin system and the upregulation of RAGE play an essential role in the retinal neurodegeneration induced by diabetes. Finally, the balance between the neurotoxic and neuroprotective factors is crucial in determining the survival of retinal neurons. In this review we will focus on neurotrophic factors already synthesized by the retina in physiological conditions as a new therapy strategy for neuroprotection.


Diabetic retinopathy Neurodegeneration Neuroprotection Pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy Treatment of diabetic retinopathy Neurovascular coupling Pigment-derived growth factor (PEDF) Somatostatin (SST) Erythropoietin (Epo) Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) Neuroprotectin 1 (NPD-1) Interstitial retinol-binding protein (IRBP) 



This manuscript was supported by grants from the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes (EFSD), the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (SAF2009-07408) and the CIBER for Diabetes and Associated Metabolic Diseases (CIBERDEM).


No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CIBERDEM (CIBER de Diabetes y Enfermedades Metabólicas Asociadas) and Diabetes and Metabolism Research Unit, Vall Hebron Institut de Recerca (VHIR)Universitat Autònoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Diabetes Research UnitInstitut de Recerca Hospital Universitari Vall d’HebronBarcelonaSpain

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