Retinylamine benefits early diabetic retinopathy in mice

Haitao Liu, Jie Tang, Yunpeng Du, Chieh Allen Lee, Marcin Golczak, Arivalagan Muthusamy, David A. Antonetti, Alexander A. Veenstra, Jaume Amengual, Johannes Von Lintig, Krzysztof Palczewski, Timothy S. Kern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent evidence suggests an important role for outer retinal cells in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy (DR). Here we investigated the effect of the visual cycle inhibitor retinylamine (Ret-NH2) on the development of early DR lesions. Wild-type (WT) C57BL/6J mice (male, 2 months old when diabetes was induced) were made diabetic with streptozotocin, and some were given Ret-NH2 once per week. Lecithin-retinol acyltransferase (LRAT)-deficient mice and P23H mutant mice were similarly studied. Mice were euthanized after 2 (WT and Lrat-/-) and 8 months (WT) of study to assess vascular histopathology, accumulation of albumin, visual function, and biochemical and physiological abnormalities in the retina. Non-retinal effects of Ret-NH2 were examined in leukocytes treated in vivo. Superoxide generation and expression of inflammatory proteins were significantly increased in retinas of mice diabetic for 2 or 8 months, and the number of degenerate retinal capillaries and accumulation of albumin in neural retina were significantly increased in mice diabetic for 8 months compared with nondiabetic controls. Administration of Ret-NH2 once per week inhibited capillary degeneration and accumulation of albumin in the neural retina, significantly reducing diabetes-induced retinal superoxide and expression of inflammatory proteins. Superoxide generation also was suppressed in Lrat-/- diabetic mice. Leukocytes isolated from diabetic mice treated with Ret-NH2 caused significantly less cytotoxicity to retinal endothelial cells ex vivo than did leukocytes from control diabetics. Administration of Ret-NH2 once per week significantly inhibited the pathogenesis of lesions characteristic of early DR in diabetic mice. The visual cycle constitutes a novel target for inhibition of DR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21568-21579
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number35
StatePublished - Aug 28 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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