Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene Linked To Severe Diabetic Eye And Kidney Diseases Identified

Date:
May 7, 2008
Source:
University of Utah
Summary:
Researchers have identified a gene called erythropoietin that contributes to increased risk of severe diabetic eye and kidney diseases, called retinopathy and nephropathy. The sight-threatening form of diabetic retinopathy, termed proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), is the most common cause of legal blindness in working-aged adults in the United States, accounting for 10% of new onset blindness overall. Diabetes is also the leading cause of kidney disease, called end-stage renal disease (ESRD), in the U.S. and the Western world.

Researchers at the John A. Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah and collaborative institutions have identified a gene called erythropoietin (EPO) that contributes to increased risk of severe diabetic eye and kidney diseases, called retinopathy and nephropathy.

Related Articles


The sight-threatening form of diabetic retinopathy, termed proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), is the most common cause of legal blindness in working-aged adults in the United States, accounting for 10% of new onset blindness overall. Diabetes is also the leading cause of kidney disease, called end-stage renal disease (ESRD), in the U.S. and the Western world.

Led by Kang Zhang M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Division of Ophthalmic Genetics at the Moran Eye Center and Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Utah, the study will be published online on May 5, 2008 in the journal Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Zhang explains the significance of the discovery: "We know that the development of PDR and ESRD in diabetic patients can be inherited. Although genetic factors are known to be important in the susceptibility (or resistance) to these complications, until now the genes involved have been mostly unknown."

How did the researchers discover that this gene is involved in PDR and ESRD" In this study the researchers compared 1,618 people with PDR and ESDR, and 954 diabetes patients without any eye or kidney disease in three separate populations. Their studies demonstrate that if a person has a copy of mutant EPO gene, they have an increased risk of developing PDR and ESRD during their lifetime.

Dr. Zhang explains the current use and cost of EPO for disease prevention and how this discovery may affect its use: "EPO is used extensively to help in the production of red blood cells when treating patients with anemia resulting from renal failure or chemotherapy. In the United States, erythropoietin represents one of the largest single drug expenses for the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, approximately $1 billion a year. Patients with anemia due to chronic renal disease (many of whom have diabetes) who receive frequent dosing of EPO to maintain higher hemoglobin levels have a higher rate of cardiovascular complications than patients who maintain a lower hemoglobin level. A similar effect of EPO on accelerating the decline of kidney function had been suggested by earlier studies. Our study suggests that caution may be warranted when maintaining higher hemoglobin concentration using exogenous EPO treatment in diabetic patients, as it might accelerate progression to PDR and ESRD."

"Though there is no proven pharmacologic treatment for diabetic vascular eye diseases, inhibiting the growth of unwanted blood vessel growth using antibodies directed against vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF therapy) has been advocated," said Dr. Dean Li, who is a co-author from the Program in Human Molecular Biology and Genetics, also at University of Utah, "This genetic study suggests that future therapeutic strategies need to consider blunting the effects of erythropoietin in addition or as an alternative to an anti-VEGF strategy"

In addition to Dr. Zhang's team at the Moran Eye Center, other investigators contributing to the new findings are from the Program in Human Molecular Biology and Genetics, Department of Human Genetics at the University of Utah; the Sichuan Academy of Medical Sciences & Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital, China; Beetham Eye Institute, Joslin Diabetes Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Doheny Eye Institute, Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, California Retina Consultants and Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Utah. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Utah. "Gene Linked To Severe Diabetic Eye And Kidney Diseases Identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080505211755.htm>.
University of Utah. (2008, May 7). Gene Linked To Severe Diabetic Eye And Kidney Diseases Identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080505211755.htm
University of Utah. "Gene Linked To Severe Diabetic Eye And Kidney Diseases Identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080505211755.htm (accessed November 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The MelaFind device is a pain-free way to check suspicious moles for melanoma, without the need for a biopsy. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battling Multiple Myeloma

Battling Multiple Myeloma

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) The answer isn’t always found in new drugs – repurposing an ‘old’ drug that could mean better multiple myeloma treatment, and hope. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) New information that is linking chronic inflammation in the prostate and prostate cancer, which may help doctors and patients prevent cancer in the future. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) Blood transfusions are proving crucial to young sickle cell patients by helping prevent strokes, even when there is no outward sign of brain injury. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins