Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2017, Article ID 4316316, 11 pages
Research Article

Elevated Glucose and Interleukin-1β Differentially Affect Retinal Microglial Cell Proliferation

1Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Life Sciences (IBILI), Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
2Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (CNC), University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
3AIBILI, Coimbra, Portugal

Correspondence should be addressed to António F. Ambrósio;

Received 19 September 2016; Accepted 4 April 2017; Published 15 May 2017

Academic Editor: Ronald Gladue

Copyright © 2017 Filipa I. Baptista 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 considered a neurovascular disorder, hyperglycemia being considered the main risk factor for this pathology. Diabetic retinopathy also presents features of a low-grade chronic inflammatory disease, including increased levels of cytokines in the retina, such as interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β). However, how high glucose and IL-1β affect the different retinal cell types remains to be clarified. In retinal neural cell cultures, we found that IL-1β and IL-1RI are present in microglia, macroglia, and neurons. Exposure of retinal neural cell cultures to high glucose upregulated both mRNA and protein levels of IL-1β. High glucose decreased microglial and macroglial cell proliferation, whereas IL-1β increased their proliferation. Interestingly, under high glucose condition, although the number of microglial cells decreased, they showed a less ramified morphology, suggesting a more activated state, as supported by the upregulation of the levels of ED-1, a marker of microglia activation. In conclusion, IL-1β might play a key role in diabetic retinopathy, affecting microglial and macroglial cells and ultimately contributing to neural changes observed in diabetic patients. Particularly, since IL-1β has an important role in retinal microglia activation and proliferation under diabetes, limiting IL-1β-triggered inflammatory processes may provide a new therapeutic strategy to prevent the progression of diabetic retinopathy.