Dapagliflozin may Improve Diabetic Retinopathy, Finds Study

Published On 2021-05-10 13:00 GMT   |   Update On 2021-05-10 13:00 GMT

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a leading cause of blindness and vision impairment. In a recent study presented at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2021 annual meeting, researchers have reported that treatment with dapagliflozin protects from diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a chronic and progressive complication of diabetes. Dapagliflozin, a new class of anti-diabetic medication, is beneficial in reducing blood glucose; however, its role in DR remains unknown. Therefore, Dr Ashay Bhatwadekar and his team conducted a study to investigate the protective effect of dapagliflozin on the development of DR.


In this preclinical study, the researchers treated diabetic model mice (db/db mice) with dapagliflozin via diet for six months and monitored the body weight, food consumption every week. They further assessed the blood glucose, HbA1c and electroretinogram (ERG) every 2 and 6 months. At study termination, they processed the mice retinas for trypsin digestions and real-time qPCR.

They also conducted an in-vivo study using human retinal endothelial cells (HRECs) by treating it with dapagliflozin concentrations of 0.1-100 uM in a logarithmic range. They assessed the cell viability using Alamar Blue Assay and, the migration response was studied using a scratch wound-healing assay.


Key findings of the study:

  • Upon analysis, they found that dapagliflozin treatment reduced blood glucose and HbA1C but no changes in body weight or food intake.
  • They noted that db/db mice had higher amplitude for ERG 'b' wave, which was decreased after dapagliflozin treatment.
  • They also noted that dapagliflozin treatment resulted in a downregulation of mRNA for pro-inflammatory markers along with a decrease in acellular capillary numbers in db/db mice.
  • Upon invivo analysis, they found that HRECs were viable at all concentrations except for the 100 μM dapagliflozin dose.
  • Using the scratch wound assay, they found a significant reduction in wound closure and rate of migration after 4 and 8 hours of dapagliflozin treatment for the 50 and 100 μM concentrations.

The authors concluded, "Overall, dapagliflozin treatment was successful in regulating photopic ERG 'b' wave amplitude, glycemic control and, decreasing acellular capillary numbers and inflammation in vivo, and decreasing the wound closure in in-vitro assays."

They further added, "our studies suggest that dapagliflozin could be beneficial in the treatment of DR due to its effect on glycemic control and potential anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic action."

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Article Source :  Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology 2021 annual meeting

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