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Binit Kumar, Anjan Kowluru, Renu A. Kowluru; Lipotoxicity Augments Glucotoxicity-Induced Mitochondrial Damage in the Development of Diabetic Retinopathy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(5):2985-2992. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.15-16466.
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Although hyperglycemia is the main instigator in the development of diabetic retinopathy, dyslipidemia is also considered to play an important role. In the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy, cytosolic NADPH oxidase 2 (Nox2) is activated before retinal mitochondria are damaged. Our aim was to investigate the effect of lipids in the development of diabetic retinopathy.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS, by 2′,7′-dichlorofluorescein diacetate) and activities of Nox2 (by a lucigenin-based method) and Rac1 (by G-LISA) were quantified in retinal endothelial cells incubated with 50 μM palmitate in 5 mM glucose (lipotoxicity) or 20 mM glucose (glucolipotoxicity) for 6 to 96 hours. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage was evaluated by extended-length PCR and its transcription by quantifying cytochrome b transcripts.
Within 6 hours of exposure of endothelial cells to lipotoxicity, or glucotoxicity (20 mM glucose, without palmitate), significant increase in ROS, Nox2, and Rac1 was observed, which was exacerbated by glucolipotoxic insult. At 48 hours, neither lipotoxicity nor glucotoxicity had any effect on mtDNA and its transcription, but glucolipotoxicity significantly damaged mtDNA and decreased cytochrome b transcripts, and at 96 hours, glucotoxicity and glucolipotoxicity produced similar detrimental effects on mitochondrial damage.
Although during initial exposure, lipotoxic or glucotoxic insult produces similar increase in ROS, addition of lipotoxicity in a glucotoxic environment further exacerbates ROS production, and also accelerates their damaging effects on mitochondrial homeostasis. Thus, modulation of Nox2 by pharmacological agents in prediabetic patients with dyslipidemia could retard the development of retinopathy before their hyperglycemia is observable.
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