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P. D. Souza-Ramalho, A. P. d. Silva, M. P. Bicho; Erythropoietin (epo) Can Protect Retinal Cell Apoptosis and Prevent Visual Loss in Diabetic Retinopathy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(13):4529.
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Erythropoietin (EPO,40.3 kDa) multifunctional glycoprotein, approved drug for treatment of chronic anemia has confirmed anti-apoptotic effects in laboratory experiments and in animal models of retinal degeneration and glaucoma. EPO provides neuroprotection and avoids cell damage in diabetic rats. It is up-regulated in the vitreous of proliferative diabetic retinopathy patients (PDR)We accessed EPO serum expression in diabetics with and without retinopathy and compared to non diabetic controls.
In 60 type 2 diabetics, 26 with and 34 without retinopathy of both sexes and mean age of 64.24 ± 11.64 years, EPO serum expression was determined (mIu/ml) by ELISA and compared to 50 non diabetic controls, age and sex matched. Statistical analyses was applied ( X2 , Student "t" test ).
- Serum EPO levels were high in diabetics with retinopathy (15.15 ± 11.44 mIu/ml), intermediate levels in diabetics without retinopathy (10.08 ± 6.63, p=0.043) and low in the controls (9.47 ± 6.57 ).
High EPO serum expression in diabetics with retinopathy, in our previous and this study, supports endogenous over production as a protective mechanism. EPO is increased in the vitreous of PDR patients. EPO (hrEPO) administration is known to protect retinal cells in different laboratory experiments and in animal models of stress (light/ischemia/reperfusion/ocular hypertension/glaucoma) in rats, mice and rabbits. Administration of EPO to RCS (Royal College of Surgeons) rats appears to exert neuroprotective effects on photoreceptors. EPO protects neonatal retina from pathological vessel loss and subsequent proliferation.Thus EPO could be an important target molecule in protecting vision loss in diabetic retinopathy.
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