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Table 2 Summary of potential treatments for diabetic retinopathy (DR)

From: Neurovascular unit in diabetic retinopathy: pathophysiological roles and potential therapeutical targets

Types of Treatments Major Mechanisms References
Neurotrophic factors PEDF • Neuroprotection
• Anti-oxidative stress
• Anti-inflammation
• Anti-angiogenesis
• Reduction of blood glucose, glutamate excitotoxicity, iNOS level
[120, 125, 129]
BDNF [121, 130, 131]
Insulin & IGF-1 [122, 134, 138]
SST [123, 139]
GLP-1 [124, 143, 146,147,148]
Anti-oxidants Flavonoids (Quercetin, Curcumin) • Anti-oxidative stress
• Anti-inflammation
• Anti-angiogenesis
• Decrease of retinal neurons apoptosis
[153,154,155,156,157,158]
Carotenoids (Lutein, Zeaxanthin) [160,161,162,163,164]
Anti- inflammation agents TNFα antagonist (Etanercept, Adalimumab, Infliximab) • Decrease of retinal neurons, pericytes and endothelial cells loss
• Reduction of inflammatory cytokines level
• Inhibition of glial activation and PARP-1
[165,166,167]
SOCS 1 [170, 171]
Tetracycline derivatives (Minocycline, Doxycycline) [172,173,174,175]
Cell replacement MSC • Anti-oxidative stress
• Anti-inflammation
• Decrease of retinal neurons, pericytes and endothelial cells loss
• Increase of neurotrophic factors
• Differentiation into retinal and vascular cells
[178,179,180,181]
EPC [184,185,186]
HSC [187]
iPSC [188, 189]
Other treatments Inhibition of iNOS (iNOS knockout Aminoguanidine, Sesamin) • Decrease of retinal neurons, pericytes and endothelial cells loss
• Anti-inflammation
• Reduction of blood glucose
[195,196,197,198,199]
L-DOPA • Preservation of retinal functions [200,201,202]
ET-1 receptor antagonist (Atrasentan, bosentan ) • Decrease of retinal neurons, pericytes and endothelial cells loss
• Inhibition of glial activation
• Neuroprotection
[204,205,206]
  1. PEDF= pigment epithelium-derived factor; BDNF= brain-derived neurotrophic factor; IGF-1= insulin-like growth factor-1; SST= somatostatin; GLP-1= glucagon-like peptide-1; Inos= inducible nitric oxide synthase; TNFα= tumor necrosis factor alpha; SOCS= suppressor of cytokine signaling; PARP-1= poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1; MSC= mesenchymal stem cells; EPC= endothelial progenitor cells; HSC= hematopoietic stem cells; iPSC= induced pluripotent stem cells; L-DOPA= L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine; ET-1= endothelin-1