Purpose: The two most widely investigated animal models for diabetic retinopathy (DR) are the rat and dog. In dogs, aldose reductase (AR) is present only in retinal capillary pericytes and their destruction has been linked to polyol accumulation and resulting apoptosis. Since both rat capillary pericytes and endothelial cells have been reported to contain AR, the role of polyol pathway activity in capillary cell destruction has been investigated in rat retinal capillary pericyte (TR-rPCT) and endothelial (TR-iBRB) cells. Methods: TR-rPCT and TR-iBRB cell lines were recloned and their identities were reconfirmed by characteristic immunostaining. Cells were cultured up to 72 h in media containing 50 mM glucose or galactose with/without the AR inhibitors or a sorbitol dehydrogenase inhibitor (SDI) or with 30 mM 3-fluoro-3-deoxyglucose. Polyol levels were determined by HPLC or 19F-NMR. Apoptosis was detected with TUNEL/DAPI staining. Results: Smooth muscle actin is present only in pericytes while only endothelial cells stain for von Willebrand factor and accumulate acetylated low-density lipoprotein. AR is present in both cells but AR levels are lower in endothelial cells. Aldehyde reductase is also present in both cells. Cells cultured in 50 mM glucose or galactose show significant polyol accumulation in pericytes but endothelial cells show little accumulation of galactitol and no accumulation of sorbitol. Sorbitol accumulation in pericytes resulted in increased cellular permeability and increased TUNEL staining, which was reduced by AR inhibition. Conclusions: Although both rat retinal pericytes and endothelial cells contain AR, sorbitol accumulation and TUNEL staining primarily occur in pericytes and are inhibited by AR inhibitors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)