Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a microvascular complication caused by prolonged hyperglycemia and characterized by leaky retinal vasculature and ischemia-induced angiogenesis. Vitreous humor is a gel-like biofluid in the posterior segment of the eye between the lens and the retina. Disease-related changes are observed in the biochemical constituents of the vitreous, including proteins and macromolecules. Recently, we found that IL-6 trans-signaling plays a significant role in the vascular leakage and retinal pathology associated with DR. Therefore, in this study, comprehensive proteomic profiling of the murine vitreous was performed to identify diabetes-induced alterations and to determine effects of IL-6 trans-signaling inhibition on these changes.
Vitreous samples from mice were collected by evisceration, and proteomic analyses were performed using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).
A total of 154 proteins were identified with high confidence in control mice and were considered to be characteristic of healthy murine vitreous fluid. The levels of 72 vitreous proteins were significantly altered in diabetic mice, including several members of heat shock proteins, 14-3-3 proteins, and tubulins. Alterations in 52 out of 72 proteins in diabetic mice were mitigated by IL-6 trans-signaling inhibition.
Proteomic analysis of murine vitreous fluid performed in this study provides important information about the changes caused by diabetes in the ocular microenvironment. These diabetes-induced alterations in the murine vitreous proteome were mitigated by IL-6 trans-signaling inhibition. These findings further support that IL-6 trans-signaling may be an important therapeutic target for the treatment of DR.