Modified Lipoproteins in Diabetic Retinopathy: A Local Action in the Retina

Jeremy Y Yu, Timothy J Lyons

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Clinical epidemiological studies have revealed relatively weak, yet statistically significant, associations between dyslipidemia/dyslipoproteinemia and diabetic retinopathy (DR). Recent large interventional studies, however, demonstrated an unexpectedly robust efficacy of fenofibrate on the development of DR, possibly independent of plasma lipids. To unify the apparent discrepancies, we hypothesize that plasma lipoproteins play an indirect but important role in DR, contingent on the integrity of the blood-retina-barrier (BRB). In retinas with an intact BRB, plasma lipoproteins may be largely irrelevant; however, important effects become operative after the BRB is impaired in diabetes, leading to lipoprotein extravasation and subsequent modification, hence toxicity to the neighbouring retinal cells. In this hypothesis, BRB leakage is the key, plasma lipoprotein concentrations mainly modulate its consequences, and fenofibrate has intra-retinal actions. This review summarizes our current knowledge of the direct effects and mechanisms of modified lipoproteins on retinal cells and their potential contribution to the pathogenesis of DR.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2013


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