The relationship between changes in retinal vessel morphology and the onset and progression of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) has been the subject of several large scale clinical studies. However, the difficulty of quantifying changes in retinal vessels in a sufficiently fast, accurate and repeatable manner has restricted the application of the insights gleaned from these studies to clinical practice. This paper presents a novel algorithm for the efficient detection and measurement of retinal vessels, which is general enough that it can be applied to both low and high resolution fundus photographs and fluorescein angiograms upon the adjustment of only a few intuitive parameters. Firstly, we describe the simple vessel segmentation strategy, formulated in the language of wavelets, that is used for fast vessel detection. When validated using a publicly available database of retinal images, this segmentation achieves a true positive rate of 70.27%, false positive rate of 2.83%, and accuracy score of 0.9371. Vessel edges are then more precisely localised using image profiles computed perpendicularly across a spline fit of each detected vessel centreline, so that both local and global changes in vessel diameter can be readily quantified. Using a second image database, we show that the diameters output by our algorithm display good agreement with the manual measurements made by three independent observers. We conclude that the improved speed and generality offered by our algorithm are achieved without sacrificing accuracy. The algorithm is implemented in MATLAB along with a graphical user interface, and we have made the source code freely available.
Retinopathy is a major complication of diabetes mellitus and this condition remains a leading cause of blindness in the working population of developed countries. As diabetic retinopathy progresses a range of neuroglial and microvascular abnormalities develop although it remains unclear how these pathologies relate to each other and their net contribution to retinal damage. From a haemodynamic perspective, evidence suggests that there is an early reduction in retinal perfusion before the onset of diabetic retinopathy followed by a gradual increase in blood flow as the complication progresses. The functional reduction in retinal blood flow observed during early diabetic retinopathy may be additive or synergistic to proinflammatory changes, leucostasis and vasoocclusion and thus be intimately linked to the progressive ischaemic hypoxia and increased blood flow associated with later stages of the disease. In the current review a unifying framework is presented that explains how arteriolar dysfunction and haemodynamic changes may contribute to late stage microvascular pathology and vision loss in human diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the most widespread complication of diabetes mellitus and a major cause of blindness in the working population of developed countries. The clinicopathology of the diabetic retina has been extensively studied, although the relative contribution of the various biochemical and molecular sequelae of hyperglycemia remains ill defined. Many neural and microvascular abnormalities occur in the retina of short-term diabetic animals but it remains uncertain how closely these acute changes relate to chronic human disease. It is important to determine the relationship between alterations observed within the first weeks or months in short-term animal models, and human disease, where clinically manifest retinopathy occurs only after durations of diabetes measured in years. This review is focused on the retinal microvasculature, although it should be appreciated that pathological changes in this system often occur in parallel with abnormalities in the neural parenchyma that may be derivative or even causal. Nevertheless, it is useful to reevaluate the microvascular lesions that are manifest in the retina during diabetes in humans and long-term animal models, since in addition to providing useful clues to the pathogenic basis of DR as a disease entity, it is in the deterrence of such changes that the efficacy of any novel treatment regimes will be measured. In particular, an emphasis will be placed on the relatively unappreciated role of arteriolar dysfunction in the clinical manifestations and pathology of this disease.
Abstract-Retinal vasoconstriction and reduced retinal blood flow precede the onset of diabetic retinopathy. The pathophysiological mechanisms that underlie increased retinal arteriolar tone during diabetes remain unclear. Normally, local Ca 2ϩ release events (Ca 2ϩ -sparks), trigger the activation of large-conductance Ca 2ϩ -activated K ϩ (BK)-channels which hyperpolarize and relax vascular smooth muscle cells, thereby causing vasodilatation. In the present study, we examined BK channel function in retinal vascular smooth muscle cells from streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. The BK channel inhibitor, Penitrem A, constricted nondiabetic retinal arterioles (pressurized to 70mmHg) by 28%. The BK current evoked by caffeine was dramatically reduced in retinal arterioles from diabetic animals even though caffeine-evoked [Ca 2ϩ ] i release was unaffected. Spontaneous BK currents were smaller in diabetic cells, but the amplitude of Ca 2ϩ -sparks was larger. The amplitudes of BK currents elicited by depolarizing voltage steps were similar in control and diabetic arterioles and mRNA expression of the pore-forming BK␣ subunit was unchanged. The Ca 2ϩ -sensitivity of single BK channels from diabetic retinal vascular smooth muscle cells was markedly reduced. The BK␤1 subunit confers Ca 2ϩ -sensitivity to BK channel complexes and both transcript and protein levels for BK␤1 were appreciably lower in diabetic retinal arterioles. The mean open times and the sensitivity of BK channels to tamoxifen were decreased in diabetic cells, consistent with a downregulation of BK␤1 subunits. The potency of blockade by Pen A was lower for BK channels from diabetic animals. Thus, changes in the molecular composition of BK channels could account for retinal hypoperfusion in early diabetes, an idea having wider implications for the pathogenesis of diabetic hypertension. (Circ Res. 2007;100:703-711.)
Aims/hypothesis Up-regulation of the receptor for AGEs (RAGE) and its ligands in diabetes has been observed in various tissues. Here, we sought to determine levels of RAGE and one of its most important ligands, S100B, in diabetic retina, and to investigate the regulatory role of S100B and RAGE in Müller glia. Methods Streptozotocin-diabetes was induced in SpragueDawley rats. RAGE, S100B and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) were detected in retinal cryosections. In parallel, the human retinal Müller cell line, MIO-M1, was maintained in normal glucose (5.5 mmol/l) or high glucose (25 mmol/l). RAGE knockdown was achieved using small interfering RNA (siRNA), while soluble RAGE was used as a competitive inhibitor of RAGE ligand binding. RAGE, S100B and cytokines were detected using quantitative RT-PCR, western blotting, cytokine protein arrays or ELISA. Activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) by RAGE was determined by western blotting. Results Compared with non-diabetic controls, RAGE and S100B were significantly elevated in the diabetic retina with apparent localisation in the Müller glia, occurring concomitantly with upregulation of GFAP. Exposure of MIO-M1 cells to high glucose induced increased production of RAGE and S100B. RAGE signalling via MAPK pathway was linked to cytokine production. Blockade of RAGE prevented cytokine responses induced by high glucose and S100B in Müller glia. Conclusions/interpretation Hyperglycaemia in vivo and in vitro exposure to high glucose induce upregulation of RAGE and its ligands, leading to RAGE signalling, which links to pro-inflammatory responses by retinal Müller glia. These data shed light on the potential clinical application of RAGE blockade to inhibit the progression of diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy remains the most common complication of diabetes mellitus and is a leading cause of visual loss in industrialized nations. The clinicopathology of the diabetic retina has been extensively studied, although the precise pathogenesis and cellular and molecular defects that lead to retinal vascular, neural and glial cell dysfunction remain somewhat elusive. This lack of understanding has seriously limited the therapeutic options available for the ophthalmologist and there is a need to identify the definitive pathways that initiate retinal cell damage and drive progression to overt retinopathy. The present review begins by outlining the natural history of diabetic retinopathy, the clinical features and risk factors. Reviewing the histopathological data from clinical specimens and animal models, the recent paradigm that neuroretinal dysfunction may play an important role in the early development of the disease is discussed. The review then focuses on the molecular pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy with perspective provided on new advances that have furthered our understanding of the key mechanisms underlying early changes in the diabetic retina. Studies have also emerged in the past year suggesting that defective repair of injured retinal vessels by endothelial progenitor cells may contribute to the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy. We assess these findings and discuss how they could eventually lead to new therapeutic options for diabetic retinopathy.
Odontoblasts form the outermost cellular layer of the dental pulp where they have been proposed to act as sensory receptor cells. Despite this suggestion, evidence supporting their direct role in mediating thermo-sensation and nociception is lacking. Transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels directly mediate nociceptive functions, but their functional expression in human odontoblasts has yet to be elucidated. In the present study, we have examined the molecular and functional expression of thermo-sensitive TRP channels in cultured odontoblast-like cells and in native human odontoblasts obtained from healthy wisdom teeth. PCR and western blotting confirmed gene and protein expression of TRPV1, TRPA1 and TRPM8 channels. Immunohistochemistry revealed that these channels were localised to odontoblast-like cells as determined by double staining with dentin sialoprotein (DSP) antibody. In functional assays, agonists of TRPV1, TRPA1 and TRPM8 channels elicited [Ca2+]i transients that could be blocked by relevant antagonists. Application of hot and cold stimuli to the cells also evoked rises in [Ca2+]i which could be blocked by TRP-channel antagonists. Using a gene silencing approached we further confirmed a role for TRPA1 in mediating noxious cold responses in odontoblasts. We conclude that human odontoblasts express functional TRP channels that may play a crucial role in mediating thermal sensation in teeth. Cultured and native human odontoblasts express functional TRP channels that may play a crucial role in mediating thermal sensation in teeth.
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