Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a common complication of diabetes and has been recognized as a vascular dysfunction leading to blindness in working-age adults. It becomes increasingly clear that neural cells in retina play an important role in the pathogenesis of DR. Neural retina located at the back of the eye is part of the brain and a representative of the central nervous system. The neurosensory deficits seen in DR are related to inflammation and occur prior to the clinically identifiable vascular complications. The neural deficits are associated with abnormal reactions of retina glial cells and neurons in response to hyperglycemia. Improper activation of the innate immune system may also be an important contributor to the pathophysiology of DR. Therefore, DR manifests characteristics of both vasculopathy and chronic neuroinflammatory diseases. In this article, we attempt to provide an overview of the current understanding of inflammation in neural retina abnormalities in diabetes. Inhibition of neuroinflammation may represent a novel therapeutic strategy to the prevention of the progression of DR.
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