Potential Biomarkers in Diabetic Retinopathy

Curr Diabetes Rev. 2020;16(9):971-983. doi: 10.2174/1573399816666200217092022.


Background: Diabetic retinopathy is one of the important complications of diabetes. In major cases, diabetic retinopathy is unnoticed until the irreversible damage to eye occurs and leads to blurred vision and, eventually, blindness.

Objective: The pathogenesis and diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy are very complex and not fully understood. Currently, well-established laser techniques and medications are available, but these treatment options have their own shortcomings on biological systems. Biomarkers can help to overcome this problem due to easy, fast and economical options for diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy.

Methods: The search terms used were "Diabetic retinopathy", "Biomarkers in diabetic retinopathy", "Novel biomarkers in diabetic retinopathy" and "Potential biomarkers of diabetic retinopathy" by using different scientific resources and databases like EBSCO, ProQuest, PubMed and Scopus. Eligibility criteria included biomarkers involved in diabetic retinopathy in the detectable range. Exclusion criteria included the repetition and duplication of the biomarker in diabetic retinopathy.

Results: Current review and literature study revealed that biomarkers of diabetic retinopathy can be categorized as inflammatory: tumor necrosis factor-α, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, transforming growth factor- β; antioxidant: nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase; nucleic acid: poly ADP ribose polymerase- α, Apelin, Oncofetal; enzyme: ceruloplasmin, protein kinase C; and miscellaneous: erythropoietin. These biomarkers have a great potential in the progression of diabetic retinopathy hence can be used in the diagnosis and management of this debilitating disease.

Conclusion: Above mentioned biomarkers play a key role in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy; hence they can also be considered as potential targets for new drug development.

Keywords: Diabetic retinopathy; MCP-1; NOX; PARP α; TGF-β; TNF- α; biomarkers; erythropoietin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Diabetes Mellitus*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy* / diagnosis
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Protein Kinase C


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Protein Kinase C