Navigation Links
Study suggests statins may prevent diabetic-related blindness

Athens, Ga. New University of Georgia research has found that a statin drug that is often known by the brand-name Lipitor may help prevent blindness in people with diabetes.

In a study using diabetic rats, lead author Azza El-Remessy, assistant professor in the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy, and her colleagues found that statins prevent free radicals in the retina from killing nerves important to maintaining vision. The results of the study are published in the March edition of the journal Diabetologia.

"The exciting part is that there are now treatment options that are proven to be safe that can be immediately translated to patients," said El-Remessy.

Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in adults and is observed in most patients after 10 to 15 years of diabetes. There are no currently FDA-approved oral treatments for diabetic retinopathy, and surgical methods are expensive and painful, she added.

Uncontrolled diabetes and excessive glucose induces free radicals, which causes the eye to release a protein called pro-nerve growth factor, which normally matures into nerve growth factor (NGF) to protect the retinal nerves, explained El-Remessy. The free radicals that are generated by diabetes stop the maturation of proNGF into NGF, however, which leads to impaired neuronal function.

Using diabetic rats and isolated retinal cells cultured in high glucose, El-Remessy and colleagues found that oral treatment with the drug atorvastatin blocked the formation of free radicals in the retina, which restored proper levels of nerve growth factor and preserved neurons in the retina. "It removed the break on the pro-form nerve growth factor to develop into its mature form," she said. The drug was orally administered to rats in doses proportional to levels given to human patients with cardiovascular problems.

In a related study, also in the March edition of the journal Diabetologia, El-Remessy and her colleagues found that epicathecin, a component of green tea, also prevented the adverse actions of proNGF in the retina. It does not affect the maturation of proNGF into NGF, explained El-Remessy, but regulated a receptor downstream that proNGF uses to send a signal to kill the neuron. Epicathechin prevents the death by inhibiting that receptor. "We are still getting the same result, that we are preventing neuronal death and restoring neuronal function, but just in a different way," said El-Remessy.

The findings have implications not only for the eye, but also for other parts of the body where nerves are affected by diabetes, said El-Remessy. "Diabetic patients need to protect the nerves beyond vision," she said. In future studies, she hopes to explore nerve functioning impaired by imbalance of proNGF in other parts of the body. "If proNGF accumulates in the eyes in diabetes, I can imagine that it accumulates in the nerve endings in the skin, in the foot, in the hand and in the brain everywhere," she said.


Contact: Azza El-Remessy
University of Georgia

Related biology news :

1. First-of-its-kind study shows benefits of electrical stimulation therapy for people paralyzed by spinal cord injury
2. Designing new molecular tools to study the life and death of a cancer cell
3. Scripps Research study sheds light on RNA on/off switches
4. Study finds massive flux of gas, in addition to liquid oil, at BP well blowout in Gulf
5. Pulmonary fibrosis inhibited by pentraxin-2/SAP in research study
6. NSF funds study of landscape restoration effects on Pennsylvania stream
7. VTT to study one of worlds oldest beers
8. Brandeis study shows economic impact of dengue virus in Americas
9. Field study of smoggy inversions to end
10. Road may disrupt migration, ruin Serengeti, study finds
11. Island-scale study reveals climate-change effects
Post Your Comments:
(Date:5/24/2016)... , May 24, 2016 Ampronix facilitates superior patient care by providing ...  3D medical LCD display is the latest premium product recently added to the range ... ... ... Sony 3d Imaging- LCD Medical Display- Ampronix News ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a ... the MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) ... large-scale multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple ... using any combination of fingerprint, face or iris ... MegaMatcher SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator , ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... The new GEZE SecuLogic access ... "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. It can ... door interface with integration authorization management system, and thus ... minimal dimensions of the access control and the optimum ... offer considerable freedom of design with regard to the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... A person commits a crime, and the detective ... the criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne illness ... (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria that ... It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, cutting-edge ... illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... FRANCISCO , June 23, 2016   EpiBiome ... has secured $1 million in debt financing from Silicon ... ramp up automation and to advance its drug development ... its new facility. "SVB has been an ... beyond the services a traditional bank would provide," said ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to ... medical community, has closed its Series A funding round, ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis ... need to meet our current goals," stated Matthew ... runway to complete validation on the current projects in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Velocity Products, a division of ... and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers at The International Manufacturing Technology ... among several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting tools, machining dynamics and distribution, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: