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Manish Mishra, John Lillvis, Berhane Seyoum, Renu A. Kowluru; Peripheral Blood Mitochondrial DNA Damage as a Potential Noninvasive Biomarker of Diabetic Retinopathy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(10):4035-4044. doi: 10.1167/iovs.16-19073.
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In the development of diabetic retinopathy, retinal mitochondria become dysfunctional, and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is damaged. Because retinopathy is a progressive disease, and circulating glucose levels are high in diabetes, our aim was to investigate if peripheral blood mtDNA damage can serve as a potential biomarker of diabetic retinopathy.
Peripheral blood mtDNA damage was investigated by extended-length PCR in rats and mice, diabetic for 10 to 12 months (streptozotocin-induced, type 1 model), and in 12- and 40-week-old Zucker diabetic fatty rats (ZDF, type 2). Mitochondrial copy number (in gDNA) and transcription (in cDNA) were quantified by qPCR. Similar parameters were measured in blood from diabetic patients with/without retinopathy.
Peripheral blood from diabetic rodents had significantly increased mtDNA damage and decreased copy numbers and transcription. Lipoic acid administration in diabetic rats, or Sod2 overexpression or MMP-9 knockdown in mice, the therapies that prevent diabetic retinopathy, also ameliorated blood mtDNA damage and restored copy numbers and transcription. Although blood from 40-week-old ZDF rats had significant mtDNA damage, 12-week-old rats had normal mtDNA. Diabetic patients with retinopathy had increased blood mtDNA damage, and decreased transcription and copy numbers compared with diabetic patients without retinopathy and nondiabetic individuals.
Type 1 diabetic rodents with oxidative stress modulated by pharmacologic/genetic means, and type 2 animal model and patients with/without diabetic retinopathy, demonstrate a strong relation between peripheral blood mtDNA damage and diabetic retinopathy, and suggest the possibility of use of peripheral blood mtDNA as a noninvasive biomarker of diabetic retinopathy.
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