Histopathology and electron microscopy evaluation of the sildenafil effect on diabetic rats’ retinae

Indian J Ophthalmol. 2024 Jan 1;72(Suppl 1):S111-S118. doi: 10.4103/IJO.IJO_976_23. Epub 2023 Dec 22.


PURPOSE: Although there is increasing evidence that phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors modify the effect of diabetes on different tissues, its effect on diabetic retinopathy is not well studied.

METHODS: Forty male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were divided into four groups: group I = control group that received no treatment; group II (diabetic group), in which diabetes was induced by a single streptozotocin injection; group III (sildenafil small dose, SSD), in which diabetes was similarly introduced (however, rats received daily oral 1 mg/kg sildenafil citrate (SC) for 3 months); and group IV (sildenafil large dose, SLD), which was as in group 3, but SC was 2.5 mg/kg. After 3 months, globes were removed and retinae were dissected; one globe from each rat was examined by light microscopy (LM), and the other by electron microscopy (EM).

RESULTS: In contrast to the control group, diabetic rats in group II demonstrated well-established diabetic changes in the form of capillary congestion, decreased cell population, hyaline changes of capillary walls, and degenerated nerve fiber layer by LM. Similarly, EM demonstrated photoreceptor degeneration, mitochondrial cristolysis, and vacuolated depleted cells among other features in group II. These diabetic features were less prominent in group III and nearly absent in group IV.

CONCLUSION: SC use in the early stages of DR may prevent/delay diabetic retinopathy development or progression in diabetic rat models, an effect that seems to be dose-related.

PMID:38131552 | DOI:10.4103/IJO.IJO_976_23