PURPOSE - Transvascular leakage occurs in diabetic retinopathy. The tight junction proteins occludin and zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) and adherens junction protein cadherin-5 are critical to the maintenance of endothelial barrier. We report a comparison of junction protein expression in the normal and diabetic retina.
METHOD - Case report. Postmortem retinal cryosections were prepared from the left eye of a 73-year-old woman with diabetic retinopathy. Cryosections were immunostained for cadherin-5, occludin, and ZO-1 and compared with retinal cryosections from the right eye of a 72-year-old man with no progression of retinal disease.
RESULTS - Immunofluorescence showed positive retinal vessel staining for occludin and ZO-1 in both eyes and cadherin-5 in the normal eye but reduced cadherin-5 staining in the retinal vessels of the diabetic eye.
CONCLUSION - Increases in transvascular leakage observed in diabetic retinal vasculature may be associated with reduction in the expression of the critical adherens junction protein, cadherin-5.