Plasma kallikrein and diabetic macular edema

Curr Diab Rep. 2010 Aug;10(4):270-5. doi: 10.1007/s11892-010-0127-1.


Recent proteomic studies have identified components of the kallikrein kinin system, including plasma kallikrein, factor XII, and kininogen, in vitreous obtained from individuals with advanced diabetic retinopathy. In rodent models, activation of plasma kallikrein in vitreous increases retinal vascular permeability; whereas inhibition of the kallikrein kinin system reduces retinal leakage induced by diabetes and hypertension. These findings suggest that intraocular activation of the plasma kallikrein pathway may contribute to excessive retinal vascular permeability that can lead to diabetic macular edema. The kallikrein kinin system contains two separate and independently regulated serine proteases that generate bradykinin peptides: plasma kallikrein and tissue kallikrein. Tissue kallikrein is expressed in the retina and ciliary body, where it has been implicated in exerting autocrine or paracrine effects via bradykinin receptors that are colocalized in these tissues. Emerging evidence suggests that plasma kallikrein inhibitors may provide a new therapeutic opportunity to reduce retinal vascular permeability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bradykinin / blood
  • Bradykinin / metabolism
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / blood*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / metabolism
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Kallikrein-Kinin System / physiology
  • Macular Edema / blood*
  • Macular Edema / metabolism*
  • Plasma Kallikrein / metabolism*


  • Plasma Kallikrein
  • Bradykinin