Proteins In Eyes Contribute to Diabetic Retinopathy

Researchers, specifically a group at Harvard’s Joslin Diabetes Center, are understanding the connection between diabetic retinopathy and proteins present in the eyes.  In a 2007 study, scientists describe how they found a group of proteins that they believe are responsible for causing the leakage from blood vessels that marks diabetic retinopathy.  They found that these proteins were also the cause of swelling in the eyes, a discovery that could have an impact on research related to cerebral swelling caused by head injuries and strokes.  Figuring out the role of proteins in this condition opens up new treatment avenues for both eye diseases and brain injuries and conditions.


This study was unique from previous work that focused on rodents because Joslin scientist developed a unique proteomics mass spectroscopy (a high-speed protein analysis technology) that helped to identify protein abnormalities in the vitreous humor of individuals with and without diabetic retinopathy.  These findings have lead to further investigation of the role that proteins within the eyes play in the formation of disease.

This research was published in Nature Medicine.

Source: Joslin Diabetes Center