G protein-coupled receptor 91 signaling in diabetic retinopathy and hypoxic retinal diseases

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G protein-coupled receptor 91 (GPR91) is a succinate-specific receptor and activation of GPR91 could initiate a complex signal transduction cascade and upregulate inflammatory and pro-angiogenic cytokines. In the retina, GPR91 is predominately expressed in ganglion cells, a major cellular entity involved in the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy (DR) and other hypoxic retinal diseases. During the development of DR and retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), chronic hypoxia causes an increase in the levels of local succinate. Succinate-mediated GPR91 activation upregulates vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) through ERK1/2-C/EBP β (c-Fos) and/or ERK1/2-COX-2/PGE2 signaling pathways, which in turn, leads to the breakdown of blood-retina barriers in these disorders. In this review, we will have a brief introduction of GPR91 and its biological functions and a more detailed discussion about the role and mechanisms of GPR91 in DR and ROP. A better understanding of GPR91 regulation may be of great significance in identifying new biomarkers and drug targets for the prediction and treatment of DR, ROP, and hypoxic retinal diseases.

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