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Effects of the neuroprotective drugs somatostatin and brimonidine on retinal cell models of diabetic retinopathy

By Elena Beltramo, Ana I. Arroba, Ángela M. Valverde, Cristina Hernández and Rafael Simó


[Aims]: Diabetic retinopathy is considered a microvascular disease, but recent evidence has underlined early involvement of the neuroretina with interactions between microvascular and neural alterations. Topical administration of somatostatin (SST), a neuroprotective molecule with antiangiogenic properties, prevents diabetes-induced retinal neurodegeneration in animals. The α-adrenergic receptor agonist brimonidine (BRM) decreases vitreoretinal vascular endothelial growth factor and inhibits blood–retinal barrier breakdown in diabetic rats. However, SST and BRM effects on microvascular cells have not yet been studied. We investigated the behaviour of these drugs on the crosstalk between microvasculature and neuroretina. [Methods]: Expression of SST receptors 1–5 in human retinal pericytes (HRP) was checked. We subsequently evaluated the effects of diabetic-like conditions (high glucose and/or hypoxia) with/without SST/BRM on HRP survival. Endothelial cells (EC) and photoreceptors were maintained in the above conditions and their conditioned media (CM) used to culture HRP. Vice versa, HRP-CM was used on EC and photoreceptors. Survival parameters were assessed. [Results]: HRP express the SST receptor 1 (SSTR1). Glucose fluctuations mimicking those occurring in diabetic subjects are more damaging for pericytes and photoreceptors than stable high glucose and hypoxic conditions. SST/BRM added to HRP in diabetic-like conditions decrease EC apoptosis. However, neither SST nor BRM changed the response of pericytes and neuroretina–vascular crosstalk under diabetic-like conditions. [Conclusions]: Retinal pericytes express SSTR1, indicating that they can be a target for SST. Exposure to SST/BRM had no adverse effects, direct or mediated by the neuroretina, suggesting that these molecules could be safely evaluated for the treatment of ocular diseases.This research was supported by the EUROCONDOR project, Grant Agreement Number 278040, funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (theme FP7-HEALTH-2011.2.4.3-1).Peer Reviewe

Topics: Photoreceptor cell, Pericyte, Endothelial cell, Brimonidine, Somatostatin, Diabetic retinopathy
Publisher: 'Springer Science and Business Media LLC'
Year: 2017
DOI identifier: 10.1007/s00592-016-0895-4
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Digital.CSIC
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