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Researchers develop new tools in the fight against diabetic blindness

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Jarvis Lett
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Diabetic retinopathy is a retinal microvascular disease that often causes blindness in adults who have had diabetes mellitus for 10 years or more.

Previously, no good animal models existed that scientists could use to study the disease, its diagnosis or potential treatments.

Now, a team of researchers led by the University of Missouri has employed a mouse model exhibiting diabetic retinopathy symptoms that could lead to future translational research studies.

"Diabetic retinopathy is a common retinal complication of diabetes mellitus that can be categorized in different stages in humans," said Shyam Chaurasia, an assistant professor of ophthalmology and vision sciences research in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine.

"Multiple interlinked pathways--including malfunctions in the immune system--lead to cellular damage.

The team focused on a specific inflammasome, a protein responsible for the activation of inflammatory responses, called the NLRP3 inflammasome.

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