Analysis of glucose metabolism in diabetic rat retinas

M. Shamsul Ola, Deborah A. Berkich, Yuping Xu, M. Todd King, Thomas W. Gardner, Ian Simpson, Kathryn F. LaNoue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


This study was conceived in an effort to understand cause and effect relationships between hyperglycemia and diabetic retinopathy. Numerous studies show that hyperglycemia leads to oxidative stress in the diabetic retinas, but the mechanisms that generate oxidative stress have not been resolved. Increased electron pressure on the mitochondrial electron transfer chain, increased generation of cytosolic NADH, and decreases in cellular NADPH have all been cited as possible sources of reactive oxygen species and nitrous oxide. In the present study, excised retinas from control and diabetic rats were exposed to euglycemic and hyperglycemic conditions. Using a microwave irradiation quenching technique to study retinas of diabetic rats in vivo, glucose, glucose-derived metabolites, and NADH oxidation/reduction status were measured. Studying excised retinas in vitro, glycolytic flux, lactate production, and tricarboxylic acid cycle flux were evaluated. Enzymatically assayed glucose 6-phosphate and fructose 6-phosphate were only slightly elevated by hyperglycemia and/or diabetes, but polyols were increased dramatically. Cytosolic NADH-to-NAD ratios were not elevated by hyperglycemia nor by diabetes in vivo or in vitro. Tricarboxylic acid cycle flux was not increased by the diabetic state nor by hyperglycemia. On the other hand, small increases in glycolytic flux were observed with hyperglycemia, but glycolytic flux was always lower in diabetic compared with control animals. An observed decrease in activity of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase may be partially responsible for slow glycolytic flux for retinas of diabetic rats. Therefore, it is concluded that glucose metabolism, downstream of hexokinase, is not elevated by hyperglycemia or diabetes. Metabolites upstream of glucose such as the sorbitol pathway (which decreases NADPH) and polyol synthesis are increased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1057-E1067
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Analysis of glucose metabolism in diabetic rat retinas'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this