The key to better treating retinopathy - damage to blood vessels in the retina that affects up to 80 percent of diabetic patients - lies not in the retina but in damage to the nerves found in bone marrow that leads to the abnormal release of stem cells, said Julia Busik, an associate professor in MSU's Department of Physiology.
"With retinopathy, blood vessels grow abnormally in the retina, distort vision and eventually can cause blindness," said Busik, whose research appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine. "There has been a lot of progress in treating the complication, but most treatments use a laser that is painful to the patient and destroys parts of the retina."
Busik and her team found that nerve damage in diabetic bone marrow - where stem cells known as endothelial progenitor cells reside - affects the daily release of those EPCs into the bloodstream. Normally EPCs would exit the bone marrow and repair damage done in the vascular system during sleep.
Using animal models, the research team observed that the pattern of EPC release is faulty in diabetic bone marrow, creating abnormally low levels of EPCs during sleep, when they are needed most. That decrease in EPC release from a diabetic patient's bone marrow preceded the development of retinopathy.
"When the bone marrow suffers nerve damage in diabetic patients, it no longer provides a signal for the timely release of these reparative stem cells," Busik said.
This novel finding shows that bone marrow nerve damage represents a new therapeutic target for treatment of all diabetic vascular complications, such as retinopathy.
"This opens up new avenues to better treatments outside of the retina that focus on stem cells and the causes of the nerve damage in bone marrow," said Busik, whose collaborators included other researchers from MSU and the University of Florida. "We know what happens in the retina and have treatments that are very invasive; we now can look at a host of other options."
Those options include looking at ways to prevent the original nerve damage in the bone marrow and potentially repairing or replacing the damaged endothelial progenitor cells.
Busik's work was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station.
Future work needs to be done to explain why the nerve damage in bone marrow occurs in diabetic patients to begin with, she said.
Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.
Jason Cody | EurekAlert!
Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences