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Review Article Open Access
Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is the most common microvascular complication of diabetes and is one of the leading causes of visual impairment worldwide. DR is a chronic eye disease that eventually can result in legal blindness due to the evolution towards the major vision-threatening disorders diabetic macular edema (DME) and/or proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). Current treatments with steroids, anti-VEGF compounds or retinal laser photocoagulation have shown a significant improvement in visual acuity in the advanced stage of the disease. However, main concerns are possible side effects and/or the relatively large number of clinical non-responders. A better understanding of the biological and molecular pathways not only in DR patients but also in the preclinical in vivo models would aid the development of novel and more efficient (personalized) therapeutic approaches for DR. This review aims to describe the pathways in a selection of diabetic, non-diabetic and surrogate rodent models of pathogenic neovascularization, vascular permeability, inflammation and neurodegeneration. None of these models can mimic the entire human pathophysiological progression but they all exhibit joint pathophysiological features with human DR pathogenesis. These combined features make these models very relevant in gaining a better understanding of the disease etiology and eventually improved strategies for drug screening. Through highlighting the most important biochemical and molecular pathways that these animal models have in common with DR patients, selection of the most suitable model for mechanistic studies and drug screening can be facilitated.
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Author(s): Reyns Geert, Hu Tjing-Tjing, Van Bergen Tine, Etienne Isabelle, Willekens Koen, Jonckx Bart and Feyen Jean HM
Diabetic retinopathy, Rodent models, Biochemical pathways, Personalized therapy, Genetic Engineering in Medicine, Genomic Medicine, Human Molecular Genetics Medicinal Biotechnology, Metabolomics, Molecular Basis of Cancer, Molecular Basis of Obesity, Molecular Diagnosis