Potential tear-based biomarkers in diabetic peripheral neuropathy

This seminar will highlight the importance of studying the alterations in the concentration of tear film neuropeptides in relation to both corneal and peripheral neuropathy in people with diabetes

Title: Potential tear-based biomarkers in diabetic peripheral neuropathy  

Speaker: Dr Shyam Tummanapalli (School of Optometry and Vision Science, UNSW Sydney) 

Time/Date: 1-2pm Friday 29 October 2021 

Location: via Zoom link below 

https://unsw.zoom.us/j/83023210928?pwd=c2tBL2lsdFJMQldaTjNiT09DRVhTQT09 

Abstract: The precorneal tear film plays a crucial role in regulating ocular surface homeostasis and preserving ocular surface integrity. The composition of tears contains a wide variety of antimicrobial and immunological molecules which are part of the innate immune system of the ocular surface. During local inflammation, several neuropeptides, especially substance P and calcitonin gene-related peptide are released from the termini of sensory nerves in the cornea and ocular surface epithelial cells into the tear film as a part of the neurogenic pro-inflammatory phase. This can significantly disrupt the physiological levels of tear film molecules and may eventually lead to ocular surface anomalies. This seminar will highlight the importance of studying the alterations in the concentration of tear film neuropeptides in relation to both corneal and peripheral neuropathy in people with diabetes. Further, the altered levels of tear neuropeptides could provide novel insight in understanding their pathophysiological role during ocular surface neurogenic inflammation and could be used as potential biomarkers of peripheral neuropathy in diabetes. 

Bio: Dr Shyam Sunder Tummanapalli, a Postdoctoral Research Scientist with a special interest in identifying ocular surface biomarkers in neurological disorders. His current research is primarily on tear-based biomarkers as they offer a relatively non-invasive collection option to blood, and can be collected for serial repeated measures to determine the progression of the disease or determine the therapeutic efficacy in clinical trials. His PhD research identified that the concentration of neuro-active peptides, specifically substance P, in the tears of those with type 1 diabetes can serve as a non-invasive biomarker for peripheral nerve damage. This work was critical as it allows early detection and may prevent the progression of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, a condition that causes recurring ulcers of the feet and in severe cases require amputation. He has been recognised with a Dean's Award for his Outstanding PhD Thesis entitled "Evaluation of corneal nerves and tear neuromediators in diabetic peripheral neuropathy". Recently, he has been awarded the Diabetes Research Grant from the Elizabeth O’Beirne and Robert and Emmy Mather Trust Fund. This project will investigate the relationship of tear film nitric oxide with corneal and peripheral neuropathy in people with diabetes and assess whether tear film nitric oxide concentration can be used as a non-invasive biomarker for the development of peripheral neuropathy in diabetes.