Endothelin-1 is associated with fibrosis in proliferative diabetic retinopathy membranes

William Chang, Michelle Lajko, Amani A. Fawzi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Purpose To characterize the relationship between endothelin-1 and fibrosis in epiretinal membranes in proliferative diabetic retinopathy and explore the role of endothelial-mesenchymal transition in these membranes. Methods Membranes were obtained from eyes undergoing pars plana vitrectomy for complicated proliferative diabetic retinopathy or idiopathic epiretinal membrane. Through standard immunohistochemical techniques, we labeled membranes to explore the distribution of endothelin-1 and endothelin receptor B, comparing proliferative diabetic retinopathy and idiopathic epiretinal membranes. In addition, membranes were also labeled with markers for fibroblasts, endothelial, and glial cells and studied with confocal laser scanning microscopy. The intensity of endothelin-1 labeling was quantified using standard image analysis software. Results Fourteen membranes were included in the analysis, nine from eyes with proliferative diabetic retinopathy and five idiopathic membranes. Flatmount diabetic membranes showed co-localization of endothelin-1 with S100A4 and CD31. Immunohistochemistry and quantitative analysis of cross-sectional membranes showed significantly higher endothelin-1 labeling in proliferative diabetic retinopathy membranes compared to idiopathic membranes (p<0.05). Diabetic membranes showed more elements staining positive for S100A4 compared to idiopathic membranes. Conclusion Epiretinal membrane formation in proliferative diabetic retinopathy involves higher tissue levels of endothelin-1 and fibroblastic activity. Furthermore, endothelin-1, endothelial and fibroblastic staining appear to be correlated, suggestive of endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition in proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0191285
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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