Diabetes is associated with hyperglycemia and impairment of retinal microvascular function. However, the impact of hyperglycemia on retinal venular constriction remains unknown. We examined retinal venular responsiveness to endogenous vasoconstrictors and the contribution of the reverse-mode sodium-calcium exchanger (NCX) to these responses during hyperglycemia. Retinal venules were isolated from pigs with streptozocin-induced diabetes (2 weeks, in vivo hyperglycemia) and age-matched control pigs for vasoreactivity and molecular studies. For in vitro hyperglycemia, vessels from euglycemic pigs were exposed to high glucose (25 mmol/L) for 2 h, and 5 mmol/L glucose served as the control. Constrictions of venules from euglycemic pigs to endothelin-1 (ET-1), thromboxane analog U46619, and norepinephrine were mediated by ETA, thromboxane, and α2-adrenergic receptors, respectively, and were insensitive to reverse-mode NCX blockade (KB-R7943). In vivo hyperglycemia enhanced these vasoconstrictions without altering respective receptor mRNA expression. Similarly, in vitro hyperglycemia augmented venular constrictions. Enhanced vasoconstrictions during hyperglycemia were prevented by KB-R7943, while mRNA expression of venular NCX isoforms was unaltered. In vivo hyperglycemia increased vitreous levels of ET-1 but not thromboxane B2. In conclusion, both in vitro and in vivo hyperglycemia enhance retinal venular responses to endogenous vasoconstrictors by activating reverse-mode NCX. Therapies targeting this vascular molecule may alleviate retinal complications during diabetes.
- Received January 22, 2019.
- Accepted May 5, 2019.
- © 2019 by the American Diabetes Association.