Send to

Choose Destination
Diabetes Metab. 1997 Apr;23(2):125-30.

Growth factors and diabetic retinopathy.

Author information

Service d'ophtalmologie, Hôpital Lariboisière, Université Paris VII, France.


Preretinal neovascularization and chronic retinal oedema are the two major sight-threatening complications that can occur during diabetic retinopathy. Ocular neovascularization is strongly associated with retinal ischaemia, and growth factors have been implicated in its pathogenesis. The ischaemic retina is assumed to secrete growth factors that stimulate residual vessels to proliferate. Interest has focused on basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), transforming growth factor beta (TGF beta) and more recently vascular endothelial cell growth factor (VEGF). Histologic studies have demonstrated the presence of growth factor proteins and receptors and/or their mRNA, mainly VEGF, PDGF, and bFGF, in preretinal membranes of patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Elevated intravitreal levels of IGF-1 and VEGF correlating with neovascular activity have been found in some patients. However, a direct causal relationship between ischaemia, growth factors and neovascularization has not been clearly demonstrated despite considerable research work. To date, the growth factor correlating most closely with neovascularization is VEGF. As many growth factors seem to be produced during the neovascular process, their specific inhibition probably will have limited effects. Laser photocoagulation of the retina has proved beneficial for regression of new vessels, probably through destruction of the ischaemic retina producing neovascular growth factors, and is currently the only treatment for proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Inhibition of IGF-1 by somatostatin analogs has produced unsatisfactory results. Other vascular inhibitors are currently being studied.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center