Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of vision loss. The primary clinical hallmarks are vascular changes that appear to contribute to the loss of sight. In a number of neurodegenerative disorders there is an appreciation that increased levels of excitatory amino acids are excitotoxic. The primary amino acid responsible appears to be the neurotransmitter glutamate. This review examines the nature of glutamatergic signaling at the retina and the growing evidence from clinical and animal model studies that glutamate may be playing similar excitotoxic roles at the diabetic retina.
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