The effects of early diabetes on inner retinal neurons

Erika D. Eggers, Teresia A. Carreon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Diabetic retinopathy is now well understood as a neurovascular disease. Significant deficits early in diabetes are found in the inner retina that consists of bipolar cells that receive inputs from rod and cone photoreceptors, ganglion cells that receive inputs from bipolar cells, and amacrine cells that modulate these connections. These functional deficits can be measured in vivo in diabetic humans and animal models using the electroretinogram (ERG) and behavioral visual testing. Early effects of diabetes on both the human and animal model ERGs are changes to the oscillatory potentials that suggest dysfunctional communication between amacrine cells and bipolar cells as well as ERG measures that suggest ganglion cell dysfunction. These are coupled with changes in contrast sensitivity that suggest inner retinal changes. Mechanistic in vitro neuronal studies have suggested that these inner retinal changes are due to decreased inhibition in the retina, potentially due to decreased gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) release, increased glutamate release, and increased excitation of retinal ganglion cells. Inner retinal deficits in dopamine levels have also been observed that can be reversed to limit inner retinal damage. Inner retinal targets present a promising new avenue for therapies for early-stage diabetic eye disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE006
JournalVisual neuroscience
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Diabetes
  • amacrine cell
  • amacrine cell
  • inhibition
  • retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems


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