High glucose (HG)-induced Drp1 overexpression contributes to mitochondrial dysfunction and promotes apoptosis in retinal endothelial cells. However, it is unknown whether inhibiting Drp1 overexpression protects against the development of retinal vascular cell loss in diabetes. To investigate whether reduced Drp1 level is protective against diabetes-induced retinal vascular lesions, four groups of mice: wild type (WT) control mice, streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mice, Drp1+/- mice, and STZ-induced diabetic Drp1+/- mice were examined after 16 weeks of diabetes. Western Blot analysis indicated a significant increase in Drp1 expression in the diabetic retinas compared to those of WT mice; retinas of diabetic Drp1+/- mice showed reduced Drp1 level compared to those of diabetic mice. A significant increase in the number of acellular capillaries (AC) and pericyte loss (PL) was observed in the retinas of diabetic mice compared to those of the WT control mice. Importantly, a significant decrease in the number of AC and PL was observed in retinas of diabetic Drp1+/- mice compared to those of diabetic mice concomitant with increased expression of pro-apoptotic genes, Bax, cleaved PARP, and increased cleaved caspase-3 activity. Preventing diabetes-induced Drp1 overexpression may have protective effects against the development of vascular lesions, characteristic of diabetic retinopathy.
- diabetic retinopathy
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