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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 364924, 16 pages
Review Article

Primary Retinal Cultures as a Tool for Modeling Diabetic Retinopathy: An Overview

1Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena, 299, 00161 Rome, Italy
2GB Bietti Eye Foundation IRCCS, Via Livenza, 3, 00198 Rome, Italy
3Department of Technology and Health, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena, 299, 00161 Rome, Italy

Received 16 September 2014; Revised 4 December 2014; Accepted 23 December 2014

Academic Editor: Michael P. Fautsch

Copyright © 2015 Andrea Matteucci et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Experimental models of diabetic retinopathy (DR) have had a crucial role in the comprehension of the pathophysiology of the disease and the identification of new therapeutic strategies. Most of these studies have been conducted in vivo, in animal models. However, a significant contribution has also been provided by studies on retinal cultures, especially regarding the effects of the potentially toxic components of the diabetic milieu on retinal cell homeostasis, the characterization of the mechanisms on the basis of retinal damage, and the identification of potentially protective molecules. In this review, we highlight the contribution given by primary retinal cultures to the study of DR, focusing on early neuroglial impairment. We also speculate on possible themes into which studies based on retinal cell cultures could provide deeper insight.