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Pathogenesis of Retinopathy | RNA-seq

Researchers have discovered a pathway that may be considered as potential therapeutic targets for proliferative retinopathy treatment.

About a quarter of patients with type 2 diabetes who have had the disease for more than ten years are affected by retinopathy. In the advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy, more and more blood vessels are blocked. The body reacts to the undersupply by forming new, diseased vessels. They grow into the vitreous body, causing bleeding and detachment of the retina. The vision deteriorates abruptly.
Symptoms of advanced retinopathy, also called proliferative retinopathy (PDR), include distorted or blurred perception or dark spots in the visual field.

Pathogenesis of PDR

The pathogenesis (onset and development) of PDR has been widely studied, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are not yet fully understood. In recent years, studies have increasingly used bulk RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) and single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) to profile the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and cellular components associated with PDR. This was also the case in this new study.

Through an integrated transcriptome bioinformatics analysis, researchers identified the target genes and cellular components of PDR. For this purpose, two public RNA-seq datasets and a single-cell RNA-seq dataset of fibro (vascular) membranes (FVMs) from PDR patients and control subjects were integrately examined. In both RNA-seq datasets, a total of 176 genes were identified as DEGs between PDR patients and control.

The authors explain:

Based on these DEGs, 14 proteins were identified in the protein overlap within the significant ligand-receptor interactions of retinal FVMs and Protein-Protein Interaction (PPI) network, three of which were associated with PDR (CD44, ICAM1, POSTN), and POSTN might act as key ligand. This finding may provide novel gene signatures and therapeutic targets for PDR.
Gao et al., 2022

Read more about the data, methods and findings here: