In diabetes, retinal dysfunctions exist prior to clinically detectable vasculopathy, however the pathology behind these functional deficits is still not fully established. Previously, our group published a detailed study on the retinal histopathology of type 1 diabetic (T1D) rat model, where specific alterations were detected. Although the majority of human diabetic patients have type 2 diabetes (T2D), similar studies on T2D models are practically absent. To fill this gap, we examined Zucker Diabetic Fatty (ZDF) rats - a model for T2D - by immunohistochemistry at the age of 32 weeks. Glial reactivity was observed in all diabetic specimens, accompanied by an increase in the number of microglia cells. Prominent outer segment degeneration was detectable with changes in cone opsin expression pattern, without a decrease in the number of labelled elements. The immunoreactivity of AII amacrine cells was markedly decreased and changes were detectable in the number and staining of some other amacrine cell subtypes, while most other cells examined did not show any major alterations. Overall, the retinal histology of ZDF rats shows a surprising similarity to T1D rats indicating that despite the different evolution of the disease, the neuroretinal cells affected are the same in both subtypes of diabetes.
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