To correlate changes between VEGF expression with systemic and retinal oxidative stress and inflammation in rodent models of obesity induced insulin resistance and diabetes.
Retinal VEGF mRNA and protein levels were assessed by RT-PCR and VEGF ELISA, respectively. Urinary 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), malondialdehyde (MDA), and CD11b/c positive cell ratio were used as systemic inflammatory markers. Retinal expression of Nox2, Nox4, and p47phox mRNA levels were measured as oxidative stress markers. TNF-α, inter-cellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), IL1β, and activation of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) were used as retinal inflammatory markers.
Retinal VEGF mRNA and protein expression increased in Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDFfa/fa) rats and streptozotosin (STZ) induced diabetic Sprague-Dawley rats, after two months of disease, but not in Zucker fatty (ZF) rats. Systemic markers of oxidative stress and inflammation were elevated in insulin resistant and diabetic rats. Some oxidative stress and inflammatory markers (TNF-α, IL-6, ICAM-1, and IL1-β) were upregulated in the retina of ZDFfa/fa and STZ diabetic rats after 4 months of disease. In contrast, activation of NF-κB in the retina was observed in high fat fed nondiabetic and diabetic cis-NF-κBEGFP mice, ZF, ZDFfa/fa, and STZ-induced diabetic rats.
Only persistent hyperglycemia and diabetes increased retinal VEGF expression. Some markers of inflammation and oxidative stress were elevated in the retina and systemic circulation of obese and insulin resistant rodents with and without diabetes. Induction of VEGF and its associated retinal pathologies by diabetes requires chronic hyperglycemia and factors in addition to inflammation and oxidative stress.
Only chronic diabetes induced late markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in the retina correlated with increased VEGF expression, but insulin resistance alone caused systemic and retinal inflammation and no increase in VEGF elevation.