Association Between Pathophysiological Mechanisms of Diabetic Retinopathy and Parkinson's Disease

Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2022 Apr;42(3):665-675. doi: 10.1007/s10571-020-00953-9. Epub 2020 Sep 3.


Diabetic retinopathy, the most common complication of diabetes, is a neurodegenerative disease in the eye. And Parkinson's disease, affecting the health of 1-2% of people over 60 years old throughout the world, is the second largest neurodegenerative disease in the brain. As the understanding of diabetic retinopathy and Parkinson's disease deepens, the two diseases are found to show correlation in incidence, similarity in clinical presentation, and close association in pathophysiological mechanisms. To reveal the association between pathophysiological mechanisms of the two disease, in this review, the shared pathophysiological factors of diabetic retinopathy and Parkinson's disease are summarized and classified into dopaminergic system, circadian rhythm, neurotrophic factors, α-synuclein, and Wnt signaling pathways. Furthermore, similar and different mechanisms so far as the shared pathophysiological factors of the two disorders are discussed systematically. Finally, a brief summary and new perspectives are presented to provide new directions for further efforts on the association, exploration, and clinical prevention and treatment of diabetic retinopathy and Parkinson's disease.

Keywords: Circadian rhythm; Diabetic retinopathy; Dopamine; Neurotrophic factors; Parkinson's disease; Wnt signaling pathways.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy* / complications
  • Diabetic Retinopathy* / metabolism
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases* / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease* / drug therapy
  • alpha-Synuclein / metabolism


  • alpha-Synuclein
  • Dopamine