AGEs, RAGE, and diabetic retinopathy

Curr Diab Rep. 2011 Aug;11(4):244-52. doi: 10.1007/s11892-011-0198-7.


Diabetic retinopathy is a major diabetic complication with a highly complex etiology. Although there are many pathways involved, it has become established that chronic exposure of the retina to hyperglycemia gives rise to accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that play an important role in retinopathy. In addition, the receptor for AGEs (RAGE) is ubiquitously expressed in various retinal cells and is upregulated in the retinas of diabetic patients, resulting in activation of pro-oxidant and proinflammatory signaling pathways. This AGE-RAGE axis appears to play a central role in the sustained inflammation, neurodegeneration, and retinal microvascular dysfunction occurring during diabetic retinopathy. The nature of AGE formation and RAGE signaling bring forward possibilities for therapeutic intervention. The multiple components of the AGE-RAGE axis, including signal transduction, formation of ligands, and the end-point effectors, may be promising targets for strategies to treat diabetic retinopathy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / metabolism*
  • Glycation End Products, Advanced / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products
  • Receptors, Immunologic / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Immunologic / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Glycation End Products, Advanced
  • Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products
  • Receptors, Immunologic