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Experimental Diabetes Research
Volume 2007, Article ID 36150, 7 pages
Review Article

A Role for Excitatory Amino Acids in Diabetic Eye Disease

1Department of Ophthalmology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA
2Division of Ophthalmology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA
3Department of Chemistry, The University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60607, USA

Received 28 February 2007; Accepted 19 March 2007

Academic Editor: Subrata Chakrabarti

Copyright © 2007 Jose E. Pulido 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.


Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of vision loss. The primary clinical hallmarks are vascular changes that appear to contribute to the loss of sight. In a number of neurodegenerative disorders there is an appreciation that increased levels of excitatory amino acids are excitotoxic. The primary amino acid responsible appears to be the neurotransmitter glutamate. This review examines the nature of glutamatergic signaling at the retina and the growing evidence from clinical and animal model studies that glutamate may be playing similar excitotoxic roles at the diabetic retina.