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Diabetes Metab J. 2014 Jun;38(3):163-70. doi: 10.4093/dmj.2014.38.3.163.

Interrelationships between the Retinal Neuroglia and Vasculature in Diabetes.

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Department of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University Medicine, Cleveland, OH, USA. ; Department of Medicine, Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Administration Medical Center, Cleveland, OH, USA.


For years, diabetic retinopathy has been defined based on vascular lesions, and neural abnormalities were not regarded as important. This review summarizes evidence that the neural retina has important effects on the retinal vasculature under normal conditions, and the interaction between the retinal neuroglial cells and vascular function is altered in diabetes. Importantly, new evidence raises a possibility that abnormalities within retinal neuroglial cells (notably photoreceptors) might actually be causing or initiating the vascular disease in diabetic retinopathy.


Diabetes mellitus; Diabetic retinopathy; Neurovascular coupling; Photoreceptors; Retina

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