May 1, 2013

Superoxide isn’t so Super in Diabetic Eyes

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superoxideDon’t be misled by the name superoxide. It’s actually not the best thing when it comes to damages that occur in the eye, resulting from diabetes. In fact, a study¬† published in PLoS One explains why this is bad and how it may be prevented.

This study was designed to find a way to stop the existence of aldose reductase (AR) in the eye. AR  has been shown to contribute to diabetic retinopathy. In some way, AR assists in the death of retinal cells that result in diabetic vision loss.

For the sake of medicine, AR-deficient diabetic mice were sacrificed at 2 or 10 months after diabetes to evaluate the abnormalities in the retina. A precursor to AR is superoxide. Superoxide was measured in these mice, as well.

The deletion of AR was shown to lessen the damages in the retina, as well as decreases the production of superoxide. However, it does not correct a variety of other pro-inflammatory abnormalities associated with the development of diabetic retinopathy.

The removal of AR also impairs the expression of iNOS. In the world of diabetes, iNOS can lead to overworking the blood vessels and this can fatigue the cells early. Too much iNOS in the kidney is a bad thing. Too much iNOS in the eye is bad, as well. Less AR means less iNOS.

Restraining the production of iNOS and superoxide is a good thing for cleaning up some aspects of diabetic retinopathy. It’s not quite scrubbing bubbles, but SC Johnson isn’t in that market (yet).

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