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Publication Detail
A study of red blood cell deformability in diabetic retinopathy using optical tweezers
Abstract
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a microvascular complication of diabetes mellitus (DM) in which high blood sugar levels cause swelling, leaking and occlusions in the blood vessels of the retina, often resulting in a loss of sight. The microvascular system requires red blood cells (RBCs) to undergo significant cellular deformation in order to pass through vessels whose diameters are significantly smaller than their own. There is evidence to suggest that DM impairs the deformability of RBCs, and this loss of deformability has been associated with diabetic kidney disease (or nephropathy) - another microvascular complication of DM. However, it remains unclear whether reduced deformability of RBCs correlates with the presence of DR. Here we present an investigation into the deformability of RBCs in patients with diabetic retinopathy using optical tweezers. To extract a value for the deformability of RBCs we use a dual-trap optical tweezers set-up to stretch individual RBCs. RBCs are trapped directly (i.e. without micro-bead handles), so rotate to assume a ‘side-on’ orientation. Video microscopy is used to record the deformation events, and shape analysis software is used to determine parameters such as initial and maximum RBC length, allowing us to calculate the deformability for each RBC. A small decrease in deformability of diabetes cells subject to this stretching protocol is observed when compared to control cells. We also report on initial results on three dimensional imaging of individual RBCs using defocussing microscopy.
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Dept of Physics & Astronomy
Author
Institute of Ophthalmology
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