Inserm, Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale
Faculté de pharmacie, Aix Marseille Université

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Increased vitreous shedding of microparticles in proliferative diabetic retinopathy stimulates endothelial proliferation

Chahed S, Leroyer AS, (…), Boulanger CM. Diabetes. 2010, Mar ;59(3):694-701. IF : 8,3


Diabetic retinopathy is associated with progressive retinal capillary activation and proliferation, leading to vision impairment and blindness. Microparticles are submicron membrane vesicles with biological activities, released following cell activation or apoptosis. We tested the hypothesis that proangiogenic microparticles accumulate in vitreous fluid in diabetic retinopathy.

Levels and cellular origin of vitreous and plasma microparticles from control (n = 26) and diabetic (n = 104) patients were analyzed by flow cytometry, and their proangiogenic activity was assessed by in vitro thymidine incorporation and neovessel formation in subcutaneous Matrigel plugs in mice.

Microparticles of endothelial, platelet, photoreceptor, and microglial origin were identified in vitreous samples. Levels of photoreceptor and microglial microparticles were undetectable in plasmas but were comparable in diabetic and control vitreous samples. Vitreous platelet and endothelial microparticles levels were increased in diabetic patients and decreased following panretinal laser photocoagulation or intravitreal antivascular endothelial growth factor injection in proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). The ratio of vitreous to plasma microparticle levels was calculated to estimate local formation versus potential plasma leakage. In PDR, the endothelial microparticles ratio—but not that for platelet—was greater than 1.0, indicating local formation of endothelial microparticles from retinal vessels and permeation of platelet microparticles from plasma. Isolated vitreous microparticles stimulated by 1.6-fold endothelial proliferation and increased new vessel formation in mice.

The present study demonstrates that vitreous fluid contains shed membrane microparticles of endothelial, platelet, and retinal origin. Vitreous microparticles levels are increased in patients with diabetic retinopathy, where they could contribute to disease progression.