The Journal of Biological Chemistry has published a paper that throws light on the question of how high blood sugar levels can cause blindness most commonly associated with diabetes – diabetic retinopathy.
When blood sugar levels are high, a protein called siah-1 is produced and this protein helps move glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) into the nucleus of Muller cells. As GAPDH accumulates, the Muller cells die. Since Muller cells are in direct contact with blood vessels in the eye, vascular damage in the eye occurs leading to diabetic retinopathy – a major cause of blindness in young adults.
The scientists investigating this issue believe that by inhibiting the movement of GAPDH into the Muller cells could slow the development of retinopathy in diabetics. Stopping the GAPDH from entering the nuclei of the Muller cells could prevent retinopathy.