Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 overexpression in nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy

Exp Eye Res. 1996 Sep;63(3):233-44. doi: 10.1006/exer.1996.0112.


Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 is secreted bidirectionally by endothelial cells, acts as the primary regulator of fibrinolysis and as a key modulator of extracellular matrix proteolysis. Elevated serum levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 are observed in serum of diabetic individuals. We investigated whether plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 is overexpressed in capillaries of diabetic donors with non-proliferative retinopathy compared to non-diabetic donors. We also assessed plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 expression in an animal model of retinopathy induced by exposing rabbit retinas to insulin-like growth factor-I. Colloidal gold immunocytochemistry was used to quantify plasminogen activator-1 antigen in donor retinas from diabetic subjects (n = 10) and control subjects (n = 10). This technique was also used to examine expression of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 for correlation with retinal changes in the insulin-like growth factor-I-induced retinopathy model (n = 14). Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 immunoreactivity was significantly increased in the retinas of all diabetic subjects as compared to controls. In the rabbit model, the expression of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 immunoreactivity correlated with pathological retinal changes. In both the diabetic human and insulin-like growth factor-I-injected rabbit, overproduction of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 was seen within the lumen of capillaries, within the cytoplasm of endothelial cells and in the basement membrane and extracellular matrix surrounding these capillaries. Minimal plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 was detected in the retinas of non-diabetics and in control rabbits injected with either heat-inactivated insulin-like growth factor-I or balanced salt solution. These studies support the conclusion that plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 is overexpressed in the retinal capillaries of diabetics with non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy and in rabbits with insulin-like growth factor-I-induced retinopathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Basement Membrane / metabolism
  • Capillaries / metabolism
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / metabolism*
  • Diabetic Retinopathy / pathology
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Middle Aged
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1 / analysis
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1 / metabolism*
  • Rabbits


  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1