Altered Gene Expressions In Diabetes

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Volunteer, UROP, Academic Credit

Overview

The goal of the research projects is to understand how altered gene expression in diabetes promotes vascular complications, specifically in the retina. Previously we identified altered gene expression in the kidneys and retina of diabetic animal models and how they contribute to vascular basement membrane thickening, a prominent and characteristic lesion of diabetic microangiopathy. Recently we developed a strategy for in vivo application of antisense oligonucleotides and siRNAs and tested its applicability towards correction of altered gene expression in retinal vascular cells and ganglion cells. We have obtained exciting results that show intravitreal injection of antisense oligonucleotides or siRNAs can correct abnormal gene expression in the diabetic rat retina and more importantly result in beneficial effects.
We are currently investigating how diabetes damages the retinal vasculature, affects cellular pathways, and promotes retinal cell death. Towards this goal, we are examining how diabetes disrupts communication between cells, promotes mitochondrial dysfunction in the diabetic retina, and causes oxidative stress and apoptosis. Our research utilizes advanced imaging systems to assess retinal morphological changes induced by diabetes, several molecular biological techniques, assays using tissue culture systems and animal models of diabetes. Overall, these projects aim to provide a better understanding of how high glucose condition alters gene expression and promotes vision loss in diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness in the working age population.
For information regarding research opportunities in the projects described above – please contact Professor Sayon Roy at sayon@bu.edu.

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