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Damian Dorfman, Marcos L Aranda, Maria F Gonzalez Fleitas, Monica Chianelli, Diego Carlos Fernandez, Ruth Estela Rosenstein; Enriched environment protects the retina from diabetic damage in adult rats. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(13):4915. doi: https://doi.org/.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a leading cause of acquired blindness. Available treatments are not very effective. Enriched environment (EE) allows freedom to move and exercise voluntarily in larger cage, with accessibility to complex stimuli as well as social interaction. We investigated the effect of EE housing on retinal damage induced by experimental diabetes.
Diabetes was induced by an intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin (STZ). EE consisted of big cages housing 6 animals, and containing several food hoppers, wheels and different objects repositioned once/day and fully substituted once/week. DR was evaluated in terms of: i) retinal function (electroretinogram (ERG) and oscillatory potentials (OPs)), ii) integrity of blood- retinal barrier (by albumin-Evan’s Blue complex leakage and astrocyte glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) immunohistochemistry), iii) vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels (by Western blot and immunohistochemistry), and iv) retinal lipid peroxidation (thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, TBARS).
EE significantly preserved ERG a- and b-wave and OPs, avoided albumin-Evan’s blue leakage, and prevented the decrease in astrocyte GFAP levels in diabetic rats. EE prevented the increase in VEGF and TBARS levels induced by experimental diabetes. When EE housing started 7 weeks after diabetes onset, retinal function was significantly preserved.
These results indicate that EE housing could become a novel and harmless therapeutic strategy in DR treatment.
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