Diabetic retinopathy remains the fifth leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide. Interventions to prevent progression of diabetic retinopathy are limited to improved glycemic control (a challenging goal for all diabetic patients) and to lase photocoagulation (available only for advanced stages of retinopathy). We and others have reported that adrenergic signaling is lost in the diabetic retina, suggesting that development of novel agents to restore autonomic homeostasis is necessary. Unfortunately, currently available adrenergic agents are associated with adverse systemic or non-specific effects. These problems inspired our group to synthesize compound 49b, a novel and selective ?-adrenergic receptor agonist, as a potential paradigm shift in the prevention of diabetic retinopathy. Our preliminary data suggest that compound 49b prevents the formation of degenerate capillaries, which involves degenerate capillary formation, which are the hallmark pathology noted in the diabetic retinal vasculature. In addition to preventing degenerate capillaries in vivo, compound 49b prevents the cleavage of caspase 3, a well- established marker of apoptosis, in retinal endothelial cells (REC) in vitro, suggesting that Compound 49b can decrease apoptosis. In the oxygen-induced model of retinopathy, others have associated increased levels of insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) with protection from REC apoptosis. Furthermore, using the streptozotocin-induced diabetic rat model, we observed that chronic insulin deficiency reduced IGFBP-3 protein levels in whole retinal lysates, but topical application of compound 49b to the eye restored retinal IGFBP-3 to its control level in these insulin- deficient rats. Thus, we hypothesize that compound 49b prevents the critical vascular damage underlying diabetic retinopathy in part by restoring IGFBP-3 levels in retinal endothelial cells. This project focuses on a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying this protective action.

Public Health Relevance

We have shown that decreased ?-adrenergic receptor activity can directly produce retinal damage similar to diabetic retinopathy. This study will dissect the cellular mechanisms of the protective role of adrenergic receptor agonists on IGFBP3 levels and retinal endothelial cell apoptosis !

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Vascular Cell and Molecular Biology Study Section (VCMB)
Program Officer
Shen, Grace L
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Jiang, Youde; Pagadala, Jayaprakash; Miller, Duane D et al. (2014) Insulin-like growth factor-1 binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3) promotes recovery from trauma-induced expression of inflammatory and apoptotic factors in retina. Cytokine 70:115-9
Zhang, Qiuhua; Steinle, Jena J (2014) IGFBP-3 inhibits TNF-? production and TNFR-2 signaling to protect against retinal endothelial cell apoptosis. Microvasc Res 95:76-81
Jiang, Youde; Zhang, Qiuhua; Steinle, Jena J (2014) Intravitreal injection of IGFBP-3 restores normal insulin signaling in diabetic rat retina. PLoS One 9:e93788
He, Hui; Williams-Guy, Kimberly; Pagadala, Jayaprakash et al. (2014) A sensitive and fast LC-MS/MS method for determination of ?-receptor agonist JP-49b: application to a pharmacokinetic study in rats. J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci 953-954:86-91
Zhang, Qiuhua; Soderland, Dylan; Steinle, Jena J (2014) TNF? inhibits IGFBP-3 through activation of p38? and casein kinase 2 in human retinal endothelial cells. PLoS One 9:e103578
Zhang, Qiuhua; Steinle, Jena J (2013) DNA-PK phosphorylation of IGFBP-3 is required to prevent apoptosis in retinal endothelial cells cultured in high glucose. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 54:3052-7
Jiang, Youde; Zhang, Qiuhua; Liu, Li et al. (2013) *2-adrenergic receptor knockout mice exhibit A diabetic retinopathy phenotype. PLoS One 8:e70555
Zhang, Qiuhua; Soderland, Carl; Steinle, Jena J (2013) Regulation of retinal endothelial cell apoptosis through activation of the IGFBP-3 receptor. Apoptosis 18:361-8
Jiang, Youde; Pagadala, Jayaprakash; Miller, Duane et al. (2013) Reduced insulin receptor signaling in retinal Muller cells cultured in high glucose. Mol Vis 19:804-11
Zhang, Qiuhua; Jiang, Youde; Miller, Matthew J et al. (2013) IGFBP-3 and TNF-* regulate retinal endothelial cell apoptosis. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 54:5376-84

Showing the most recent 10 out of 12 publications