Journal of Endocrinology

 Cysteamine prevents vascular leakage through inhibiting transglutaminase in diabetic retina
 

Cysteamine (an aminothiol), which is derived from coenzyme A degradation and metabolized into taurine, has beneficial effects against cystinosis and neurodegenerative diseases; however, its role in diabetic complications is unknown. Thus, we sought to determine the preventive effect of cysteamine against hyperglycemia-induced vascular leakage in the retinas of diabetic mice. Cysteamine and ethanolamine, the sulfhydryl group-free cysteamine analogue, inhibited vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced stress fiber formation and vascular endothelial (VE)-cadherin disruption in endothelial cells, which play a critical role in modulating endothelial permeability. Intravitreal injection of the amine compounds prevented hyperglycemia-induced vascular leakage in the retinas of streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. We then investigated the potential roles of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and transglutaminase (TGase) in the cysteamine prevention of VEGF-induced vascular leakage. Cysteamine, but not ethanolamine, inhibited VEGF-induced ROS generation in endothelial cells and diabetic retinas. In contrast, VEGF-induced TGase activation was prevented by both cysteamine and ethanolamine. Our findings suggest that cysteamine protects against vascular leakage through inhibiting VEGF-induced TGase activation rather than ROS generation in diabetic retinas.