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Experimental Diabetes Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 728325, 8 pages
Review Article

The Role of Angiogenesis in the Development of Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy: Impact of Intravitreal Anti-VEGF Treatment

1Department of Ophthalmology, Vita-Salute University, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, 20132 Milan, Italy
2Complications of Diabetes Unit, Division of Metabolic and Cardiovascular Sciences, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, 20132 Milan, Italy

Received 17 November 2011; Revised 30 January 2012; Accepted 13 February 2012

Academic Editor: Johannes Waltenberger

Copyright © 2012 Gemma Tremolada 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.


Although cellular and molecular bases of proliferative diabetic retinopathy are only partially understood, it is evident that this complication of diabetes is characterized by the formation of new vessels inside the retina showing abnormal architecture and permeability. This process, if not controlled by selective laser photocoagulation, leads to irreversible retinal damages and loss of vision. Angiogenesis, that is, the condition characterized by the growth of new blood vessels originated from preexisting ones, was shown to have a major role in the pathogenesis of proliferative retinopathy and, as a consequence, intravitreal antiangiogenic injection was suggested as a feasible treatment for this disease. Here, we describe the different antiangiogenic approaches used to treat this disease along with the respective advantages and limitations when compared to laser treatment. Altogether, even though further and longer studies are still needed to clarify the best possible therapeutic protocol, the antiangiogenic treatment will reasonably have a future role in the therapy and prevention of proliferative diabetic retinopathy.