Ocular surface complications result from dysregulation of the OGF-OGFr signaling pathway in female diabetic rats

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Approximately 4.5 million women in the United States exhibit diabetes-associated ocular complications. The time course and magnitude of these complications, and their association with the dysregulation of the opioid growth factor (OGF)-OGF receptor (OGFr) signaling pathway are unknown. The present study investigated the onset and magnitude of ocular surface complications and the association with a dysregulated OGF-OGFr signaling pathway in diabetic female rats. Adult female Sprague-Dawley rats were injected with streptozotocin in order to establish a model of type 1 diabetes (T1D), and a subset received insulin (T1D-INS). Blood glucose, body weight, tear production and corneal sensi- tivity, as well as serum and tissue expression levels of OGF and OGFr, were assessed. Corneal epithelial wound healing was also evaluated. In a second study, female T1D rats were treated with topical naltrexone (NTX) to determine whether blockade of the OGF-OGFr signaling pathway by NTX altered development of corneal surface complications. Female T1D rats had elevated glucose levels and reduced body weight compared with control and T1D-INS rats. In both diabetic groups, tear production was decreased within 2 weeks and corneal sensitivity was decreased 2.5-fold within 5 weeks, while corneal epithelial wound healing was delayed only in T1D rats. Serum and tissue levels of OGF and OGFr were elevated in diabetes. Twice daily NTX treatment reversed most ocular surface complications in the diabetic female rats. The present data demonstrated a seminal discovery in female T1D rats, in which the onset and magnitude of diabetes-associated ocular surface complications were associated with dysregula- tion of the OGF-OGFr regulatory pathway. Blockade of the OGF-OGFr pathway with the opioid receptor antagonist NTX prevented the onset and/or decreased the magnitude of these deficits. The current data support the need for translational research on this therapeutic approach for diabetic human subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number687
JournalExperimental and Therapeutic Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Microbiology (miscellaneous)
  • Cancer Research


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