Elevated glutamate is implicated in the pathology of PDR. The ability to rapidly assess the glutamate and amino acid content of vitreous provides a more complete picture of the chemical changes occurring at the diabetic retina and may lead to a better understanding of the pathology of PDR. Vitreous humor was collected following vitrectomies of patients with PDR and control conditions of macular hole or epiretinal membrane. A capillary electrophoresis method was developed to quantify glutamate and arginine. The analysis is relatively fast (< 6 minutes) and utilizes a poly(ethylene)oxide and sodium dodecylsulfate run buffer. Both amino acid levels show significant increases in PDR patients versus controls and are comparable to other reports. The levels of vitreal glutamate vary inversely with the degree of observed hemorrhage. The results demonstrate a rapid method for assessment of a number of amino acids to characterize the chemical changes at the diabetic retina to better understand tissue changes and potentially identify new treatments.
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