Genetics of diabetic retinopathy

Published by Luke Morais on

Genetics of diabetic retinopathy



What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a diabetes complication that affects the eyes. It’s caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. At first, DR might cause no symptoms or only mild vision problems. But it can lead to blindness. The condition can develop in anyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The longer you have diabetes and the less controlled your blood sugar is, the more likely you are to develop this eye complication.

How was the research done?

Researchers want to investigate whether certain genetic variations are associated with the development of DR. They are focusing on genes related to Interleukin-8 (IL-8) that can affect cell inflammation and blood vessel growth.  Currently, treatment for DR involves targeting a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). It helps with swelling and blood flow in the eye. They are using BioVU to create groups of patients with diabetes. Some of the patients have DR and some do not. They will analyze the genes of these patients to see if certain markers are more common in those with DR.

What is the importance of this study?

The goal is to study the genetic makeup of patients with different degrees of diabetes and DR. This will help researchers gain a better understanding of the causes of DR. This may lead to new ideas about how DR develops and progresses. This research will provide new insights into the physical steps of DR and may lead to new treatments for the condition.