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Emma M. Lessieur, Haitao Liu, Aicha Saadane, Yunpeng Du, Jie Tang, Jianying Kiser, Timothy S. Kern; Neutrophil-Derived Proteases Contribute to the Pathogenesis of Early Diabetic Retinopathy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2021;62(13):7. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.62.13.7.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous studies indicate that leukocytes, notably neutrophils, play a causal role in the capillary degeneration observed in diabetic retinopathy (DR), however, the mechanism by which they cause such degeneration is unknown. Neutrophil elastase (NE) is a protease released by neutrophils which participates in a variety of inflammatory diseases. In the present work, we investigated the potential involvement of NE in the development of early DR.
Experimental diabetes was induced in NE-deficient mice (Elane−/−), in mice treated daily with the NE inhibitor, sivelestat, and in mice overexpressing human alpha-1 antitrypsin (hAAT+). Mice were assessed for diabetes-induced retinal superoxide generation, inflammation, leukostasis, and capillary degeneration.
In mice diabetic for 2 months, deletion of NE or selective inhibition of NE inhibited diabetes-induced retinal superoxide levels and inflammation, and inhibited leukocyte-mediated cytotoxicity of retinal endothelial cells. In mice diabetic for 8 months, genetic deletion of NE significantly inhibited diabetes-induced retinal capillary degeneration.
These results suggest that a protease released from neutrophils contributes to the development of DR, and that blocking NE activity could be a novel therapy to inhibit DR.
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