Monosodium urate contributes to retinal inflammation and progression of diabetic retinopathy

Menaka C. Thounaojam, Annalisa Montemari, Folami L. Powell, Prerana Malla, Diana R. Gutsaeva, Alessandra Bachettoni, Guido Ripandelli, Andrea Repossi, Amany Tawfik, Pamela M. Martin, Francesco Facchiano, Manuela Bartoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We have investigated the contributing role of monosodium urate (MSU) to the pathological processes associated with the induction of diabetic retinopathy (DR). In human postmortem retinas and vitreous from donors with DR, we have found a significant increase in MSU levels that correlated with the presence of inflammatory markers and enhanced expression of xanthine oxidase. The same elevation in MSU levels was also detected in serum and vitreous of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats (STZ-rats) analyzed at 8 weeks of hyperglycemia. Furthermore, treatments of STZ-rats with the hypouricemic drugs allopurinol (50 mg/kg) and benzbromarone (10 mg/kg) given every other day resulted in a significant decrease of retinal and plasma levels of inflammatory cytokines and adhesion factors, a marked reduction of hyperglycemia-induced retinal leukostasis, and restoration of retinal blood-barrier function. These results were associated with effects of the hypouricemic drugs on downregulating diabetes-induced levels of oxidative stress markers as well as expression of components of the NOD-like receptor family pyrin domain-containing protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome such as NLRP3, Tolllike receptor 4, and interleukin-1b. The outcomes of these studies support a contributing role of MSU in diabetes-induced retinal inflammation and suggest that asymptomatic hyperuricemia should be considered as a risk factor for DR induction and progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1014-1025
Number of pages12
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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