[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Impairment of cognitive functions including hippocampus-dependent spatial learning and memory affects nearly half of the aged population. Age-related cognitive decline is associated with synaptic dysfunction that occurs in the absence of neuronal cell loss, suggesting that impaired neuronal signaling and plasticity may underlie age-related deficits of cognitive function. Expression of myelin-associated inhibitors (MAIs) of synaptic plasticity, including the ligands myelin-associated glycoprotein, neurite outgrowth inhibitor A, and oligodendrocyte myelin glycoprotein, and their common receptor, Nogo-66 receptor, was examined in hippocampal synaptosomes and Cornu ammonis area (CA)1, CA3 and dentate gyrus subregions derived from adult (12-13 months) and aged (26-28 months) Fischer 344 × Brown Norway rats. Rats were behaviorally phenotyped by Morris water maze testing and classified as aged cognitively intact (n = 7-8) or aged cognitively impaired (n = 7-10) relative to adults (n = 5-7). MAI protein expression was induced in cognitively impaired, but not cognitively intact, aged rats and correlated with cognitive performance in individual rats. Immunohistochemical experiments demonstrated that up-regulation of MAIs occurs, in part, in hippocampal neuronal axons and somata. While a number of pathways and processes are altered with brain aging, we report a coordinated induction of myelin-associated inhibitors of functional and structural plasticity only in cognitively impaired aged rats. Induction of MAIs may decrease stimulus-induced synaptic strengthening and structural remodeling, ultimately impairing synaptic mechanisms of spatial learning and memory and resulting in cognitive decline.
Journal of Neurochemistry 01/2012; 121(1):77-98. · 3.97 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Age-related cognitive decline occurs without frank neurodegeneration and is the most common cause of memory impairment in aging individuals. With increasing longevity, cognitive deficits, especially in hippocampus-dependent memory processes, are increasing in prevalence. Nevertheless, the neurobiological basis of age-related cognitive decline remains unknown. While concerted efforts have led to the identification of neurobiological changes with aging, few age-related alterations have been definitively correlated to behavioral measures of cognitive decline. In this work, adult (12 months) and aged (28 months) rats were categorized by Morris water maze performance as Adult cognitively Intact, Aged cognitively Intact or Aged cognitively Impaired, and protein expression was examined in hippocampal synaptosome preparations. Previously described differences in synaptic expression of neurotransmission-associated proteins (Dnm1, Hpca, Stx1, Syn1, Syn2, Syp, SNAP25, VAMP2 and 14-3-3 eta, gamma, and zeta) were confirmed between Adult and Aged rats, with no further dysregulation associated with cognitive impairment. Proteins related to synaptic structural stability (MAP2, drebrin, Nogo-A) and activity-dependent signaling (PSD-95, 14-3-3θ, CaMKIIα) were up- and down-regulated, respectively, with cognitive impairment but were not altered with increasing age. Localization of MAP2, PSD-95, and CaMKIIα demonstrated protein expression alterations throughout the hippocampus. The altered expression of activity- and structural stability-associated proteins suggests that impaired synaptic plasticity is a distinct phenomenon that occurs with age-related cognitive decline, and demonstrates that cognitive decline is not simply an exacerbation of the aging phenotype.
Neurobiology of Disease 03/2011; 43(1):201-12. · 5.62 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective diagnostics of excessive alcohol use are valuable tools in the identification and monitoring of subjects with alcohol use disorders. A number of potential biomarkers of alcohol intake have been proposed, but none have reached widespread clinical usage, often due to limited diagnostic sensitivity and specificity. In order to identify novel potential biomarkers, we performed proteomic biomarker target discovery in plasma samples from non-human primates that chronically self-administer high levels of ethanol. Two-dimensional difference in-gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) was used to quantify plasma proteins from within-subject samples collected before exposure to ethanol and after 3 months of excessive ethanol self-administration. Highly abundant plasma proteins were depleted from plasma samples to increase proteomic coverage. Altered plasma levels of serum amyloid A4 (SAA4), retinol-binding protein, inter-alpha inhibitor H4, clusterin, and fibronectin, identified by 2D-DIGE analysis, were confirmed in unmanipulated, whole plasma from these animals by immunoblotting. Examination of these target plasma proteins in human subjects with excessive alcohol consumption (and control subjects) revealed increased levels of SAA4 and clusterin and decreased levels of fibronectin compared to controls. These proteins not only serve as targets for further development as biomarker candidates or components of biomarker panels, but also add to the growing understanding of dysregulated immune function and lipoprotein metabolism with chronic, excessive alcohol consumption.
The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 02/2011; 14(7):899-911. · 5.64 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vision loss is one of the most common complications of aging, even in individuals with no diagnosed ocular disease. Increasing age induces structural alterations and functional impairments in retinal neurons and microvasculature linked to the activation of proinflammatory signaling pathways. Commonalities between the effects of aging and those observed with diabetes, including visual impairment, vascular dysfunction, and increased inflammatory response, have led to the hypothesis that diabetes-associated pathologies reflect an "advanced aging" phenotype. The goal of this study was to investigate the effects of aging on retinal mRNA expression of neurovascular and inflammatory transcripts previously demonstrated to be regulated with diabetes.
The relative expression of 36 genes of interest previously identified as consistently regulated with diabetes was assessed in retinas of Young (3 month), Adult (12 month), and Aged (26 month) Fischer 344 x Brown Norway (F1) hybrid rats using quantitative PCR. Serum samples obtained at sacrifice were assayed to determine serum glucose levels.
Eleven inflammation- and microvascular-related genes previously demonstrated to be upregulated in young diabetic rats (complement component 1 s subcomponent [C1s], chitinase 3-like 1 [Chi3L1], endothelin 2 [Edn2], guanylate nucleotide binding protein 2 [Gbp2], glial fibrillary acidic protein [Gfap], intracellular adhesion molecule 1 [Icam1], janus kinase 3 [Jak3], lipopolysaccharide-induced TNF factor [Litaf], complement 1-inhibitor [Serping1], signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 [Stat3], tumor necrosis factor receptor subfamily member 12a [Tnfrsf12a]) demonstrated progressively increasing retinal expression in aged normoglycemic rats. Additionally, two neuronal function-related genes (glutamate receptor ionotropic NMDA 2A [Grin2a] and polycomb group ring finger 1 [Pcgf1]) and one inflammation-related gene (pigment epithelium-derived growth factor [Pedf]) displayed patterns of expression dissimilar to that previously demonstrated with diabetes.
The commonalities in retinal age-related and diabetes-induced molecular alterations provide support for the hypothesis that diabetes and aging engage some common para-inflammatory processes. However, these results also demonstrate that while the retinal genomic response to diabetes and aging share commonalities, they are not superimposable phenotypes. The observed changes in retinal gene expression provide further evidence of retinal alterations in neurovascular and inflammatory processes across the adult rat lifespan; this is indicative of para-inflammation that may contribute to the functional impairments that occur with advanced age. The data also suggest the potential for an additive effect of aging and diabetes in the development of diabetic complications.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a leading cause of blindness in working age adults. Approximately 95% of patients with Type 1 diabetes develop some degree of retinopathy within 25 years of diagnosis despite normalization of blood glucose by insulin therapy. The goal of this study was to identify molecular changes in the rodent retina induced by diabetes that are not normalized by insulin replacement and restoration of euglycemia.
The retina transcriptome (22,523 genes and transcript variants) was examined after three months of streptozotocin-induced diabetes in male Sprague Dawley rats with and without insulin replacement for the later one and a half months of diabetes. Selected gene expression changes were confirmed by qPCR, and also examined in independent control and diabetic rats at a one month time-point.
Transcriptomic alterations in response to diabetes (1376 probes) were clustered according to insulin responsiveness. More than half (57%) of diabetes-induced mRNA changes (789 probes) observed at three months were fully normalized to control levels with insulin therapy, while 37% of probes (514) were only partially normalized. A small set of genes (5%, 65 probes) was significantly dysregulated in the insulin-treated diabetic rats. qPCR confirmation of findings and examination of a one month time point allowed genes to be further categorized as prevented or rescued with insulin therapy. A subset of genes (Ccr5, Jak3, Litaf) was confirmed at the level of protein expression, with protein levels recapitulating changes in mRNA expression.
These results provide the first genome-wide examination of the effects of insulin therapy on retinal gene expression changes with diabetes. While insulin clearly normalizes the majority of genes dysregulated in response to diabetes, a number of genes related to inflammatory processes, microvascular integrity, and neuronal function are still altered in expression in euglycemic diabetic rats. Gene expression changes not rescued or prevented by insulin treatment may be critical to the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy, as it occurs in diabetic patients receiving insulin replacement, and are prototypical of metabolic memory.
BMC Medical Genomics 01/2011; 4:40. · 3.47 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As a leading cause of adult blindness, diabetic retinopathy is a prevalent and profound complication of diabetes. We have previously reported duration-dependent changes in retinal vascular permeability, apoptosis, and mRNA expression with diabetes in a rat model system. The aim of this study was to identify retinal proteomic alterations associated with functional dysregulation of the diabetic retina to better understand diabetic retinopathy pathogenesis and that could be used as surrogate endpoints in preclinical drug testing studies.
A multi-modal proteomic approach of antibody (Luminex)-, electrophoresis (DIGE)-, and LC-MS (iTRAQ)-based quantitation methods was used to maximize coverage of the retinal proteome. Transcriptomic profiling through microarray analysis was included to identify additional targets and assess potential regulation of protein expression changes at the mRNA level. The proteomic approaches proved complementary, with limited overlap in proteomic coverage. Alterations in pro-inflammatory, signaling and crystallin family proteins were confirmed by orthogonal methods in multiple independent animal cohorts. In an independent experiment, insulin replacement therapy normalized the expression of some proteins (Dbi, Anxa5) while other proteins (Cp, Cryba3, Lgals3, Stat3) were only partially normalized and Fgf2 and Crybb2 expression remained elevated.
These results expand the understanding of the changes in retinal protein expression occurring with diabetes and their responsiveness to normalization of blood glucose through insulin therapy. These proteins, especially those not normalized by insulin therapy, may also be useful in preclinical drug development studies.
PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(1):e16271. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Age-related cognitive dysfunction, including impairment of hippocampus-dependent spatial learning and memory, affects approximately half of the aged population. Induction of a variety of neuroinflammatory measures has been reported with brain aging but the relationship between neuroinflammation and cognitive decline with non-neurodegenerative, normative aging remains largely unexplored. This study sought to comprehensively investigate expression of the MHC II immune response pathway and glial activation in the hippocampus in the context of both aging and age-related cognitive decline.
Three independent cohorts of adult (12-13 months) and aged (26-28 months) F344xBN rats were behaviorally characterized by Morris water maze testing. Expression of MHC II pathway-associated genes identified by transcriptomic analysis as upregulated with advanced aging was quantified by qPCR in synaptosomal fractions derived from whole hippocampus and in hippocampal subregion dissections (CA1, CA3, and DG). Activation of astrocytes and microglia was assessed by GFAP and Iba1 protein expression, and by immunohistochemical visualization of GFAP and both CD74 (Ox6) and Iba1.
We report a marked age-related induction of neuroinflammatory signaling transcripts (i.e., MHC II components, toll-like receptors, complement, and downstream signaling factors) throughout the hippocampus in all aged rats regardless of cognitive status. Astrocyte and microglial activation was evident in CA1, CA3 and DG of intact and impaired aged rat groups, in the absence of differences in total numbers of GFAP+ astrocytes or Iba1+ microglia. Both mild and moderate microglial activation was significantly increased in all three hippocampal subregions in aged cognitively intact and cognitively impaired rats compared to adults. Neither induction of MHCII pathway gene expression nor glial activation correlated to cognitive performance.
These data demonstrate a novel, coordinated age-related induction of the MHC II immune response pathway and glial activation in the hippocampus, indicating an allostatic shift toward a para-inflammatory phenotype with advancing age. Our findings demonstrate that age-related induction of these aspects of hippocampal neuroinflammation, while a potential contributing factor, is not sufficient by itself to elicit impairment of spatial learning and memory in models of normative aging. Future efforts are needed to understand how neuroinflammation may act synergistically with cognitive-decline specific alterations to cause cognitive impairment.
Journal of Neuroinflammation 01/2011; 8:138. · 4.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although steady progress on understanding brain aging has been made over recent decades through standard anatomical, immunohistochemical, and biochemical techniques, the biological basis of non-neurodegenerative cognitive decline with aging remains to be determined. This is due in part to technical limitations of traditional approaches, in which only a small fraction of neurobiologically relevant proteins, mRNAs or metabolites can be assessed at a time. With the development and refinement of proteomic technologies that enable simultaneous quantitative assessment of hundreds to thousands of proteins, neuroproteomic studies of brain aging and cognitive decline are becoming more widespread. This review focuses on the contributions of neuroproteomic investigations to advances in our understanding of age-related deficits of hippocampus-dependent spatial learning and memory. Accumulating neuroproteomic data demonstrate that hippocampal aging involves common themes of dysregulated metabolism, increased oxidative stress, altered protein processing, and decreased synaptic function. Additionally, growing evidence suggests that cognitive decline does not represent a "more aged" phenotype, but rather is associated with specific neuroproteomic changes that occur in addition to age-related alterations. Understanding if and how age-related changes in the hippocampal neuroproteome contribute to cognitive decline and elucidating the pathways and processes that lead to cognitive decline are critical objectives that remain to be achieved. Progress in the field and challenges that remain to be addressed with regard to animal models, behavioral testing, and proteomic reporting are also discussed.
Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 01/2011; 3:8. · 5.20 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Decreased cognitive performance reduces independence and quality of life for aging individuals. Healthy brain aging does not involve significant neuronal loss, but little is known about the effects of aging at synaptic terminals. Age-related cognitive decline likely reflects the manifestation of dysregulated synaptic function and ineffective neurotransmission. In this study, hippocampal synaptosomes were enriched from young-adult (3 months), adult (12 months), and aged (26 months) Fischer 344 x Brown Norway rats, and quantitative alterations in the synaptoproteome were examined by 2-DIGE and MS/MS. Bioinformatic analysis of differentially expressed proteins identified a significant effect of aging on a network of neurotransmission-regulating proteins. Specifically, altered expression of DNM1, HPCA, PSD95, SNAP25, STX1, SYN1, SYN2, SYP, and VAMP2 was confirmed by immunoblotting. 14-3-3 isoforms identified in the proteomic analysis were also confirmed as a result of their implication in the regulation of the synaptic vesicle cycle and neurotransmission modulation. The findings of this study demonstrate a coordinated down-regulation of neurotransmission-regulating proteins that suggests an age-based deterioration of hippocampal neurotransmission occurring between adulthood and advanced age. Altered synaptic protein expression may decrease stimulus-induced neurotransmission and vesicle replenishment during prolonged or intense stimulation, which are necessary for learning and the formation and perseverance of memory.
Journal of Neurochemistry 03/2010; 113(6):1577-88. · 3.97 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protein biomarkers will play a pivotal role in the future of personalized medicine for both diagnosis and treatment decision-making. While the results of several pre-clinical and small-scale clinical studies have demonstrated the value of protein biomarkers, there have been significant challenges to translating these findings into routine clinical care. Challenges to the use of protein biomarkers include inter-sample variability introduced by differences in post-collection handling and ex vivo degradation of proteins and protein modifications.
In this report, we re-create laboratory and clinical scenarios for sample collection and test the utility of a new tissue stabilization technique in preserving proteins and protein modifications. In the laboratory setting, tissue stabilization with the Denator Stabilizor T1 resulted in a significantly higher yield of phospho-protein when compared to standard snap freeze preservation. Furthermore, in a clinical scenario, tissue stabilization at collection resulted in a higher yield of total phospho-protein, total phospho-tyrosine, pErkT202/Y204 and pAktS473 when compared to standard methods. Tissue stabilization did not have a significant effect on other post-translational modifications such as acetylation and glycosylation, which are more stable ex-vivo. Tissue stabilization did decrease total RNA quantity and quality.
Stabilization at the time of collection offers the potential to better preserve tissue protein and protein modification levels, as well as reduce the variability related to tissue processing delays that are often associated with clinical samples.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Biomarkers that can be measured in preclinical models in a high-throughput, reproducible manner offer the potential to increase the speed and efficacy of drug development. Development of therapeutic agents for many conditions is hampered by the limited number of validated preclinical biomarkers available to gauge pharmacoefficacy and disease progression, but the validation process for preclinical biomarkers has received limited attention. This report defines a five-step preclinical biomarker validation process and applies the process to a case study of diabetic retinopathy. By showing that a gene expression panel is highly reproducible, coincides with disease manifestation, accurately classifies individual animals and identifies animals treated with a known therapeutic agent, a biomarker panel can be considered validated. This particular biomarker panel consisting of 14 genes (C1inh, C1s, Carhsp1, Chi3l1, Gat3, Gbp2, Hspb1, Icam1, Jak3, Kcne2, Lama5, Lgals3, Nppa, Timp1) can be used in diabetic retinopathy pharmacotherapeutic research, and the biomarker development process outlined here is applicable to drug development efforts for other diseases.
The Pharmacogenomics Journal 12/2009; 10(5):385-95. · 5.13 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The number of discovery proteomic studies of drug abuse has begun to increase in recent years, facilitated by the adoption of new techniques such as 2D-DIGE and iTRAQ. For these new tools to provide the greatest insight into the neurobiology of addiction, however, it is important that the addiction field has a clear understanding of the strengths, limitations, and drug abuse-specific research factors of neuroproteomic studies. This review outlines approaches for improving animal models, protein sample quality and stability, proteome fractionation, data analysis, and data sharing to maximize the insights gained from neuroproteomic studies of drug abuse. For both the behavioral researcher interested in what proteomic study results mean, and for biochemists joining the drug abuse research field, a careful consideration of these factors is needed. Similar to genomic, transcriptomic, and epigenetic methods, appropriate use of new proteomic technologies offers the potential to provide a novel and global view of the neurobiological changes underlying drug addiction. Proteomic tools may be an enabling technology to identify key proteins involved in drug abuse behaviors, with the ultimate goal of understanding the etiology of drug abuse and identifying targets for the development of therapeutic agents.
Drug and alcohol dependence 11/2009; 107(1):11-22. · 3.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Declining cognitive performance is associated with increasing age, even in the absence of overt pathological processes. We and others have reported that declining cognitive performance is associated with age-related changes in brain glucose utilization, long-term potentiation and paired-pulse facilitation, protein expression, neurotransmitter levels, and trophic factors. However, it is unclear whether these changes are causes or symptoms of the underlying alterations in dendritic and synaptic morphology that occur with age. In this study, we examined the hippocampal proteome for age- and cognition-associated changes in behaviorally stratified young and old rats, using two-dimensional in-gel electrophoresis and MS/MS. Comparison of old cognitively intact with old cognitively impaired animals revealed additional changes that would not have been detected otherwise. Interestingly, not all age-related changes in protein expression were associated with cognitive decline, and distinct differences in protein expression were found when comparing old cognitively intact with old cognitively impaired rats. A large number of protein changes with age were related to the glycolysis/gluconeogenesis pathway. In total, the proteomic changes suggest that age-related alterations act synergistically with other perturbations to result in cognitive decline. This study also demonstrates the importance of examining behaviorally-defined animals in proteomic studies, as comparison of young to old animals regardless of behavioral performance would have failed to detect many cognitive impairment-specific protein expression changes evident when behavioral stratification data were used.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diabetic retinopathy can result in vision loss and involves progressive neurovascular degeneration of the retina. This study tested the hypothesis that diabetes decreases the retinal expression of presynaptic proteins involved in synaptic function. The protein and mRNA contents for synapsin I, synaptophysin, vesicle-associated membrane protein 2, synaptosomal-associated protein of 25 kDa and postsynaptic density protein of 95 kDa were measured by immunohistochemistry, immunoblotting and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction in whole retinas and retinal synaptosomes from streptozotocin-diabetic and control Sprague-Dawley rats. There was less presynaptic protein immunoreactivity after 1 and 3 months of diabetes than in controls. Discrete synaptophysin-immunoreactive puncta were significantly smaller and fewer in sections from 1- and 3-month diabetic rat retinas than in those from controls. The content of presynaptic proteins was significantly less in whole retinas of 1- and 3-month diabetic rats, and in synaptosomes from 1-month diabetic rats, than in controls. Whole retinas had significantly less mRNA for these genes after 3 months but not 1 month of diabetes, as compared to controls (with the exception of postsynaptic density protein of 95 kDa). In contrast, there was significantly less mRNA for synaptic proteins in synaptosomes of 1-month diabetic rats than in controls, suggesting a localized depletion at synapses. Protein and mRNA for beta-actin and neuron-specific enolase were unchanged by diabetes. The ratio of phosphorylated to total synapsin I was also reduced in whole retina and isolated synaptosomes from 1-month diabetic rats, as compared to controls. These data suggest that diabetes has a profound impact on presynaptic protein expression in the retina, and may provide a mechanism for the well-established defects in vision and the electrophysiological response of the retina in diabetes.
European Journal of Neuroscience 08/2008; 28(1):1-11. · 3.75 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Following its invention 25 years ago, PCR has been adapted for numerous molecular biology applications. Gene expression analysis by reverse-transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) has been a key enabling technology of the post-genome era. Since the founding of BioTechniques, this journal has been a resource for the improvements in qPCR technology, experimental design, and data analysis. qPCR and, more specifically, real-time qPCR has become a routine and robust approach for measuring the expression of genes of interest, validating microarray experiments, and monitoring biomarkers. The use of real-time qPCR has nearly supplanted other approaches (e.g., Northern blotting, RNase protection assays). This review examines the current state of qPCR for gene expression analysis now that the method has reached a mature stage of development and implementation. Specifically, the different fluorescent reporter technologies of real-time qPCR are discussed as well as the selection of endogenous controls. The conceptual framework for data analysis methods is also presented to demystify these analysis techniques. The future of qPCR remains bright as the technology becomes more rapid, cost-effective, easier to use, and capable of higher throughput.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Despite advances in the understanding of diabetic retinopathy, the nature and time course of molecular changes in the retina with diabetes are incompletely described. This study characterized the functional and molecular phenotype of the retina with increasing durations of diabetes. RESULTS: Using the streptozotocin-induced rat model of diabetes, levels of retinal permeability,caspase activity, and gene expression were examined after 1 and 3 months of diabetes. Gene expression changes were identified by whole genome microarray and confirmed by qPCR in the same set of animals as used in the microarray analyses and subsequently validated in independent sets of animals. Increased levels of vascular permeability and caspase-3 activity were observed at 3 months of diabetes, but not 1 month. Significantly more and larger magnitude gene expression changes were observed after 3 months than after 1 month of diabetes. Quantitative PCR validation of selected genes related to inflammation, microvasculature and neuronal function confirmed gene expression changes in multiple independent sets of animals. CONCLUSION: These changes in permeability, apoptosis, and gene expression provide further evidence of progressive retinal malfunction with increasing duration of diabetes. The specific gene expression changes confirmed in multiple sets of animals indicate that pro-inflammatory, antivascular barrier, and neurodegenerative changes occur in tandem with functional increases in apoptosis and vascular permeability. These responses are shared with the clinically documented inflammatory response in diabetic retinopathy suggesting that this model may be used to test antiinflammatory therapeutics.
BMC Medical Genomics 02/2008; 1:26. · 3.47 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A hallmark of diabetic retinopathy is increased vascular permeability. The vasculature of the retina, which normally has tight
control of the fluid and blood components that enter the retina, becomes leaky in diabetes leading to increased albumin flux
into the retina, fluid accumulation, and macular edema, and over time may progress to hemorrhaging vessels. This chapter investigates
our knowledge regarding the formation of the blood—brain and blood—retinal barrier. The molecular composition of the junctional
complex that forms the basis of the blood—retinal barrier will be briefly reviewed and the changes that occur to the junctional
complex in diabetes will be examined. Changes in permeability and the contribution of inflammatory cytokines in addition to
vascular endothelial growth factor will be presented and potential therapies will be considered. It is the goal of this chapter
that the reader will have a fundamental understanding of the development and structure of the blood—retinal barrier and know-ledge
of our current understanding of the alterations to the junctional complex that contribute to vessel permeability in diabetic
Key WordsBlood—retinal barrier (BRB)–blood—brain barrier (BBB)–claudin–occluding–permeability–tight junctions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diabetic retinopathy is a vision-threatening disease that impacts many, if not all the different types of cells in the retina.
This chapter reviews evidence that the dysfunction of the neuroglial cells of the retina contributes to the pathology of diabetic
retinopathy. The basic histology of the neurons and glial cells of the retina is summarized, along with a discussion of the
functions of these different cell types, and how they operate collectively to mediate vision. Then the effect of diabetes
on retinal function is summarized, along with a discussion of how neurodegeneration, glial dysfunction, and neuroinflammation
each may play a part in loss of vision. Finally, the history of research on neuroglial dysfunction in diabetic retinopathy
is summarized in order to appreciate the evolution of the notion that vision loss is mediated through abnormalities in neuroglial
Key Words:Retina–Neuron–Retinal ganglion cell–Microglia–Macroglia–Astrocyte–Mü–ller cell–Neurodegeneration–Visual function–Electroretinogram