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Cleveland, OH, United States

Kern T.S.,Case Western Reserve University | Kern T.S.,VAMC Research Service 151 | Miller C.M.,Case Western Reserve University | Miller C.M.,Alcon | And 4 more authors.
Molecular Vision | Year: 2010

Purpose: We compared three rat strains to determine if different strains develop early-stage diabetic retinopathy or sensory neuropathy at different rates. Methods: Sprague Dawley, Lewis, and Wistar rats were made diabetic with streptozotocin. Diabetic and nondiabetic animals had retinal vascular pathology measured at eight months of diabetes. The number of cells in the retinal ganglion cell layer (GCL), retinal function (using electroretinography [ERG]), and retinal levels of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase2 (COX2), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were measured at four months of diabetes. Tactile allodynia was assessed in hind paws at two months of diabetes. Results: Diabetes of eight months' duration resulted in a significant increase in retinal degenerate capillaries and pericyte ghosts in Lewis and Wistar rats, but not in Sprague Dawley rats. A significant loss of cells in the GCL occurred only in diabetic Lewis rats, whereas Wistar and Sprague Dawley rats showed little change. Diabetes-induced iNOS and VEGF were statistically significant in all strains. Cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2) was significantly elevated in the Sprague Dawley and Wistar strains. Lewis rats showed a similar trend, however, the results were not statistically significant. All strains tended to show diabetes-induced impairment of dark-adapted b-wave amplitude, but only Sprague Dawley and Lewis strains had a significant reduction in latency. All strains showed significant tactile allodynia in peripheral nerves. Conclusions: At the durations studied, Lewis rats showed accelerated loss of both retinal capillaries and ganglion cells in diabetes, whereas diabetic Wistar rats showed degeneration of the capillaries without significant neurodegeneration, and Sprague Dawley rats showed neither lesion. Identification of strains that develop retinal lesions at different rates should be of value in investigating the pathogenesis of retinopathy. © 2010 Molecular Vision.

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