A new study shows eye damage from diabetic retinopathy could be prevented – or even reversed – in the gut.
The research, published in the journal Circulation Research,1 shows the source of the damage to blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye could be a result of a leaky small intestine that weakens the barrier between gut bacteria and the blood system.
The researchers used blood from human subjects with Type 1 diabetes and a mouse model of Type 1 diabetes to explore mechanisms underlying diabetic retinopathy.
this study represents the first time that gut barrier disruption has been implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy
“To our knowledge, this study represents the first time that gut barrier disruption has been implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy and also directly links gut leakage with retinopathy severity in human subjects with Type 1 diabetes,” said Dr Maria Grant, leader of the research team and a professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.
- Prasad, R., Floyd, J.L., Dupont, M., et al., Maintenance of Enteral ACE2 Prevents Diabetic Retinopathy in Type 1 Diabetes, Circulation Research, 2023; 132:e1-e21: https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.122.322003