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Diabetologia. 2013 Jun;56(6):1444-53. doi: 10.1007/s00125-013-2884-2. Epub 2013 Mar 19.

Regression activity that is naturally present in vitreous becomes ineffective as patients develop proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

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Schepens Eye Research Institute, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, 20 Staniford Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA.



The realisation that targeting agents in the vitreous is an effective approach to treating patients with diabetic retinopathy (DR) has increased awareness that changes in the composition/bioactivity of the vitreous is a contributor to the pathogenesis of DR. The overall goal of this study was to test the hypothesis that the vitreous has regression activity, and that lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) contributes to such activity. LPA is a bioactive phospholipid present in many biological fluids, and has been recently appreciated for its ability to promote regression of blood vessels.


Vitreous-mediated regression was monitored on tubes organised from primary retinal endothelial cells or neovessels that sprouted from retinal explants. LPA was quantified radioenzymatically.


Bovine and human vitreous promoted regression of retinal explant vessels and of tubes organised from primary retinal endothelial cells. LPA was a substantial component of this regression activity. Comparing the regression activities of vitreous from patients with different stages of DR revealed that, as patients developed proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), vitreous lost its ability to promote regression, even though the amount of LPA did not change. The underlying mechanism was a PDR-vitreous-mediated insensitivity to LPA, which could be overcome pharmacologically.


Our findings suggest that a decline in the responsiveness to regression factors such as LPA, which are naturally present in the vitreous, contributes to the pathogenesis of PDR.

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