Plasma angiogenesis and oxidative stress markers in patients with diabetic retinopathy

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Background: Neovascularization in the retina and hyperglycaemia-induced oxidative stress are implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy (DR). In this study, we hypothesized that the plasma angiogenic and oxidative stress markers associated with these derangements could aid in the screening of diabetic patients who are at an increased risk of developing retinopathy. Methods: This study included normal (n = 148), type2 diabetes without retinopathy (DNR; n = 148), proliferative DR (PDR; n = 74) and non-PDR (NPDR; n = 148) subjects. Plasma concentrations of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A), hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), nitric oxide (NO), soluble receptors for advanced glycation end products (sRAGE), malondialdehyde (MDA) and protein thiols were estimated. Results: A statistically significant increase was observed in the plasma concentrations of pro-angiogenic factors and markers of oxidative stress in both retinopathy groups. By contrast, the concentrations of anti-angiogenic factors and antioxidants were decreased significantly in these groups. Receiver operating characteristic analysis indicated that the plasma thresholds of HIF-1α and PEDF can be suitable markers in case of NPDR. However, in PDR, HIF-1α, NO, MMP-9 and PEDF showed high sensitivity and specificity. Conclusions: The factors associated with hypoxia, matrix degradation and angiogenic inhibition play a crucial role in predicting DR.

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