Retinopathy with central oedema in an INS (C94Y) transgenic pig model of long-term diabetes.

PMID 28480495


Diabetic retinopathy is a severe complication of diabetes mellitus that often leads to blindness. Because the pathophysiology of diabetic retinopathy is not fully understood and novel therapeutic interventions require testing, there is a need for reliable animal models that mimic all the complications of diabetic retinopathy. Pig eyes share important anatomical and physiological similarities with human eyes. Previous studies have demonstrated that INS (C94Y) transgenic pigs develop a stable diabetic phenotype and ocular alterations such as cataracts. The aim of this study was to conduct an in-depth analysis of pathological changes in retinas from INS (C94Y) pigs exposed to hyperglycaemia for more than 2 years, representing a chronic diabetic condition. Eyes from six INS (C94Y)pigs and six age-matched control littermates were analysed via histology and immunohistochemistry. For histological analyses of retinal (layer) thickness, sections were stained with H&E or Mallory's trichrome. For comparison of protein expression patterns and vessel courses, sections were stained with different antibodies in immunohistochemistry. Observed lesions were compared with reported pathologies in human diabetic retinopathy. INS (C94Y)pigs developed several signs of diabetic retinopathy similar to those seen in humans, such as intraretinal microvascular abnormalities, symptoms of proliferative diabetic retinopathy and central retinal oedema in a region that is cone rich, like the human macula. The INS (C94Y)pig is an interesting model for studying the pathophysiology of diabetic retinopathy and for testing novel therapeutic strategies.