Neurodegeneration Before Vasculopathy: Identifying New Therapeutic Targets for Diabetic Retinopathy

Project: Research project

Project Details


Retinal complications of diabetes mellitus (DM) are the most common cause of irreversible blindness in working-age adults. Current treatments target abnormal blood vessels that break down in diabetic retinopathy, with very limited success in delaying or preventing vision loss. We propose a completely different strategy to fight diabetes in the retina. Recent evidence in both humans and mouse models has suggested that retinal neurons, particularly ganglion cells (RGCs), degenerate early in diabetes, well before signs of disease in the blood vessels. Yet to date, the evidence for early retinal neurodegeneration in diabetes remains circumstantial; it has not been linked to particular types of retinal cells or their functions, and no molecular pathways have been identified to treat this aspect of the disease. We will use mouse models of diabetes to identify which types of retinal cells show the first signs of damage and how their function is altered. Completion of this project is the critical first step along a new path to successful therapeutics for the millions of people suffering from diabetes-related vision loss.
Effective start/end date4/1/223/31/23


  • JDRF International (1-INO-2022-1112-A-N)


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