Scientists from the University of New South Wales have discovered levels of a nerve cell signaling molecule called substance P, measured in tear samples, may be a potential biomarker of diabetes-related nerve damage.
Researchers reportedly measured substance P levels in the natural tear film in the eyes of nine diabetic adults and a control group of 17 non-diabetic patients. They reportedly found patients with diabetes had substantially lower levels of substance P in tear film samples, compared to healthy controls. And on confocal microscopy, the diabetic patients also had a significantly lower corneal nerve fiber density, indicating loss of corneal nerve fibers.
The research team reportedly believes measuring substance P levels in the tear film might become a useful, noninvasive test for assessing the risk of peripheral neuropathy in patients with diabetes.
The study was recently published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science, the official journal of the American Academy of Optometry.
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Source: Wolters Kluwer Health