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Rat Study Suggests Eyedrops May Inhibit Retinopathy

Anti-inflammatory Nepafenac can reverse some changes in retinal vascular metabolism, function, morphology

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Eyedrops containing the anti-inflammatory Nepafenac can reverse some diabetes-induced changes in retinal vascular metabolism, function and morphology, with little effect on retinal ganglion cell survival, according to an animal study in the February issue of Diabetes.

Timothy S. Kern, Ph.D., from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and colleagues treated diabetic and non-diabetic rats with eyedrops containing 0.3 percent Nepafenac or vehicle. Rats received eyedrops in both eyes four times a day for two and nine months.

After two months of diabetes, the researchers found that Nepafenac significantly inhibited the diabetes-induced increase in prostaglandin E2, cyclooxygenase-2 and superoxide, but had no effect on the increase in vascular endothelial growth factor or nitric oxide. After nine months of diabetes, Nepafenac inhibited diabetes-induced retinal capillary cell death and the formation of acellular capillaries and pericyte ghosts. Nepafenac also inhibited the diabetes-induced retinal activation of caspase-3 and oscillatory potential latency, but had no effect on the diabetes-induced loss of cells in the ganglion cell layer or corneal protease activity.

"Topical ocular administration of Nepafenac achieved sufficient drug delivery to the retina and diabetes-induced alterations in retinal vascular metabolism, function and morphology were inhibited," Kern and colleagues conclude. "In contrast, little or no effect was observed on diabetes-induced alterations in retinal ganglion cell survival."

This research was funded, in part, by Alcon Research.

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