From the Board
New Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy (DR), the leading cause of blindness in the working-age population and is characterized by apoptotic cell loss in the retinal vasculature. Lysyl oxidase propeptide (LOX-PP), released during LOX processing, has been implicated in promoting apoptosis in various diseased tissues. However, its role in the development and progression of DR is unknown. United Scientific Group Vice-president Dr. Sayon Roy team has investigated whether high glucose (HG) or diabetes alters LOX-PP expression and thereby influences AKT pathway and affects retinal endothelial cell survival. In this study, the authors have shown for the first time that HG-induced LOX-PP overexpression promotes apoptosis in RRECs. Because HG and diabetic conditions both increase LOX-PP levels, this finding is significant because it provides insight into a hitherto unknown mechanism for HG-induced apoptosis involving pro-LOX processing. Their findings indicate that RRECs grown in HG up-regulates LOX-PP expression and that increased LOX-PP level may compromise AKT activity in RRECs, thus contributing to apoptosis.