News

Molecule that regulates blood vessels in the eye could help with diabetic retinopathy

by Barbara Hewitt on March 27, 2017

The identification of a new molecule that induces the formation of abnormal blood vessels in the eye could help prevent vision damage in people with diabetes.

Diabetic retinopathy caused by changes in the vasculature of people with diabetes can cause long term complications and affects about 93 million people across the world.

But researchers at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, part of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, have identified a new molecule that induces the formation of abnormal blood vessels in the eyes of diabetic mice.

The study suggests that inhibiting this molecule may prevent similarly aberrant blood vessels from damaging the vision of not only diabetics, but also premature infants.

Many people with diabetic retinopathy suffer a dramatic loss of vision as the blood vessels supplying the retina become leaky and new, abnormal blood vessels are formed to replace them.

A molecule called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) regulates blood vessel growth and leakiness, and two VEGF inhibitors, ranibizumab (Lucentis) and aflibercept (Eylea), have been approved to treat retinal vascular leakage, though they are only successful in about a third of patients.

Study lead author Wei Li, a research associate professor of ophthalmology, and his colleagues at Bascom Palmer developed a technique called comparative ligandomics to identify additional molecules that regulate the behaviour of blood vessels in diabetic mice.

The approach allows the researchers to compare the signalling molecules that selectively bind to the surface of retinal blood vessel cells in diabetic but not healthy animals.

‘It is estimated that between one-third and a half of all marketed drugs act by binding to cell surface signalling molecules or their receptors. Our ligandomics approach can be applied to any type of cell or disease to efficiently identify signalling molecules with pathogenic roles and therapeutic potential,’ said Li.

Using this technique the researchers discovered that a protein called secretogranin III (Scg3) efficiently binds to the surface of retinal blood vessel cells in diabetic, but not healthy, mice.

Although Scg3 promotes the secretion of hormones and other signalling factors, it wasn’t thought to have a signalling function itself. Nevertheless, the researchers found that Scg3 increased vascular leakage, and, when administered to mice, it stimulated blood vessel growth in diabetic animals, but not in healthy mice.

VEGF, in contrast, stimulates blood vessel growth in both diabetic and healthy mice. Li and colleagues think that Scg3 binds to a distinct cell surface receptor that is specifically up-regulated in diabetes.

Treating diabetic mice with Scg3-neutralizing antibodies dramatically reduced the leakiness of their retinal blood vessels. Moreover, the antibodies significantly inhibited the growth of new blood vessels in mice with oxygen-induced retinopathy, a well-established animal model of human retinopathy of prematurity.

Though the researchers still need to confirm the role of Scg3 in humans, they believe that inhibiting this protein could be an effective treatment for both diabetic retinopathy and ROP, especially as it appears to have no role in normal vascular development.

‘Scg3 inhibitors may offer advantages such as disease selectivity, high efficacy, and minimal side effects. Because they target a distinct signalling pathway, anti-Scg3 therapies could be used in combination with, or as an alternative to, VEGF inhibitors,’ Li said.

{ 0 comments }

Thumbnail image for The age a girl start menstruation could affect risk of developing gestational diabetes

The age a girl start menstruation could affect risk of developing gestational diabetes

March 24, 2017 News

The age at which girls start menstruating could be a risk factor for developing diabetes during pregnancy, new research has found. The earlier periods start the more likely a woman is to suffer from gestational diabetes, according to study that analyses data from more than 4,700 women in Australia. The researchers from the University of […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Global warming could be contributing to rise in type 2 diabetes

Global warming could be contributing to rise in type 2 diabetes

March 23, 2017 News

Global warming is the latest phenomenon to be linked with the rapid increase in type 2 diabetes with scientists finding that higher temperatures might affect insulin sensitivity. A team of Dutch researchers from the Leiden University Medical Centre have decided to investigate if rising temperatures could be having an effect on the way the body […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Scientists hope enzyme study could lead to new treatment for diabetic kidney problems

Scientists hope enzyme study could lead to new treatment for diabetic kidney problems

March 22, 2017 News

An enzyme that has a role in the body’s metabolic memory could lead to the development of new treatments for diabetes-related kidney failure. Scientists from Australia are currently studying metabolic memory, a phenomenon where episodes of hyperglycaemia continue to increase a person’s risk of diabetes-related complications long after blood glucose levels have returned to target […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Scientists discover role of immune cells in developing type 2 diabetes

Scientists discover role of immune cells in developing type 2 diabetes

March 20, 2017 News

Immune cells, which are reduced in number in people who are obese, could be a new target to develop treatments for type 2 diabetes that affects those who are overweight, new research suggests. A new collaborative study between the University of Manchester and the University of Salford and Lund University in Sweden investigated a type […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Digital risk calculators being developed to help diabetics

Digital risk calculators being developed to help diabetics

March 13, 2017 News

People with diabetes could benefit from digital ‘risk calculators’ in the future that help healthcare professionals prescribe the best combination of medicine for each person. Research in the UK into personalised treatments has resulted in a one risk calculator being developed by teams from Exeter, Dundee, Oxford and Glasgow Universities which predicts how well someone’s […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Group meetings found to be helpful for managing type 2 diabetes

Group meetings found to be helpful for managing type 2 diabetes

March 10, 2017 News

More consideration should be given to group-based education to help people with type 2 diabetes as it is beneficial and cost effective, according to new research. Those taking part often absorb more detailed information than they would do in a one-to-one meeting about their diabetes management as there is more time for discussions, according to […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Altered red blood cells could retrain immune system in type 1 diabetics

Altered red blood cells could retrain immune system in type 1 diabetics

March 8, 2017 News

Specially altered red blood cells could be used to help retrain the immune system in people with type 1 diabetes and even help combat the disease in the future. Scientists in the United States have successfully genetically modified red blood cells in mice to carry specific antigens on the surface of beta cells that trigger […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Top footballer says type 1 diabetes should not stop you playing sport and having goals

Top footballer says type 1 diabetes should not stop you playing sport and having goals

March 8, 2017 News

One of the world’s top footballers has talked about how he was told to give up the sport when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 12. José Iglesias, known as Nacho, a defender for one of the world’s top teams Real Madrid, had been on the books for the club […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Research reveals extent of diabetes complications in teenagers and young adults

Research reveals extent of diabetes complications in teenagers and young adults

March 6, 2017 News

Teenagers and young adults with type 2 diabetes develop common complications related to the condition more often than their peers with type 1 diabetes, new research has found. In particular they develop kidney, nerve, and eye diseases as well as some risk factors for heart disease in the years shortly after diagnosis, according to work […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Youngsters in England and Wales see improved diabetes care, but more checks needed

Youngsters in England and Wales see improved diabetes care, but more checks needed

March 3, 2017 News

Glucose control in children in England and Wales has improved but not all with diabetes are getting the care they needs, according to a new health audit report. More than a quarter of children with diabetes were judged to now have excellent blood glucose control but 13.8% have early signs of eye disease, up from […]

Read the full article →



The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.