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Medical News and Perspectives
January 12, 2005

Diabetic Retinopathy Mechanism Probed

JAMA. 2005;293(2):148-149. doi:10.1001/jama.293.2.148

An international team of researchers has resurrected a once-discarded theory to explain the mechanism underlying how chronic hyperglycemia in diabetes causes the microvascular complications that lead to diabetic retinopathy and other tissue problems. The findings, they say, may point to new avenues of research into novel therapies to treat such conditions.

Scientists from the United States and Denmark report that studies in laboratory rats bolster the idea that a primary cause of microvascular complications is chemically reactive, tissue-damaging free radicals and other chemical changes resulting from the increased transfer of electrons and protons from glucose to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) by a sequence of chemical reactions known as the sorbitol pathway (Diabetes. 2004;53:2931-2938).

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