Author(s): Kern TS, Engerman RL
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Abstract Microaneurysms, acellular capillaries and pericyte ghosts are characteristic of diabetic retinopathy, but it is not clear what causes these lesions or whether they are causally related to each other. The distribution of microaneurysms, acellular capillaries and pericyte ghosts has been evaluated in two animal models of diabetic retinopathy, diabetic dogs (n = 25) and galactose-fed dogs (n = 12). After 5 years of diabetes or galactosemia, retinas were divided into four quadrants at the optic disk, prepared by the trypsin-digest method, and the frequency of the lesions compared among the quadrants. Numbers of lesions were expressed relative to area of trypsin-digested retina examined or to total number of capillary cells examined. Microaneurysms and acellular capillaries were not uniformly distributed across the retina in diabetes or in galactosemia, both lesions being significantly (more than two-fold) more prevalent in the superior temporal retina than in the inferior nasal quadrant of retina. In contrast, the distribution of pericyte ghosts in these same eyes was not significantly different between the quadrants. These findings suggest that pericyte loss may not be sufficient to account for the development of microaneurysms and acellular (occluded) capillaries in diabetes, and raise a possibility that the lesions occur by different mechanisms. Currently available hypotheses regarding the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy fail to account for regional differences in the distribution of the vascular lesions within the same retina. Local factors within the eye apparently play an important role in the response of the retinal microvasculature to hyperglycemia.
This article was published in Exp Eye Res
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology