Alistair Barber, PhD

Associate Research Director, Penn State Eye Center

    • 7179 Citations
    • 38 h-Index
    1989 …2019
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    Personal profile

    Research interests

    Since 1995, Dr. Alistair Barber’s research has focused on the role of retinal neurodegeneration in vision-loss in diabetic retinopathy. This degenerative disease of the retina is a common complication of diabetes and is the leading cause of vision loss in working-age adults in the developed countries. The Barber lab was one of the first to show that diabetes increases retinal cell death by apoptosis, and went on to quantify the accelerated loss of a variety of sub-types of neurons in animal models of diabetes. The lab also identified other morphological changes in neurons, including alterations in the structure of retinal ganglion cell dendrites, and found that these changes are accompanied by deficient expression of synaptic proteins required for neurotransmitter release.

    Diabetes-induced changes in morphology and synaptic protein expression in the retina are accompanied by functional deficits in vision in the animal models, including reduced acuity and contrast sensitivity, which replicates observations in humans with diabetes. Other metabolic changes within the retina that are associated with diabetes include cytokine release and activation of macro- and microglia, indicating that neuro-inflammation accompanies neurodegeneration. Together these functional deficits conspire with vascular abnormalities such as dysregulation of endothelial cell tight junction proteins, leading to increased vascular permeability and loss of the blood-retinal barrier.

    This work has helped to establish neurodegeneration as an important contributing factor in diabetic retinopathy, which was previously considered primarily from the perspective of a vascular disease. Current clinical and basic research data, however, confirm that chronic neurodegeneration is an important characteristic of diabetic retinopathy in humans as well as animal models, and the neurodegeneration appears to begin simultaneously with, or even before, the first vascular lesions become evident in the retina.

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Alistair Barber is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    • 7 Similar Profiles
    Diabetic Retinopathy Medicine & Life Sciences
    Retina Medicine & Life Sciences
    Blood-Retinal Barrier Medicine & Life Sciences
    Occludin Medicine & Life Sciences
    Capillary Permeability Medicine & Life Sciences
    Retinal Vessels Medicine & Life Sciences
    Blood Vessels Medicine & Life Sciences
    Tight Junctions Medicine & Life Sciences

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    Research Output 1989 2019

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    REDD1 activates a ROS-generating feedback loop in the retina of diabetic mice

    Miller, W. P., Toro, A. L., Barber, A. & Dennis, M., May 1 2019, In : Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. 60, 6, p. 2369-2379 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
    Reactive Oxygen Species
    Mitochondrial Membrane Potential
    Hydrogen Peroxide
    3 Citations (Scopus)

    Deletion of the Akt/mTORC1 repressor REDD1 prevents visual dysfunction in a rodent model of type 1 diabetes

    Miller, W. P., Yang, C., Mihailescu, M. L., Moore, J. A., Dai, W., Barber, A. J. & Dennis, M. D., Jan 1 2018, In : Diabetes. 67, 1, p. 110-119 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
    Cell Death
    Contrast Sensitivity
    8 Citations (Scopus)

    Proteomic analysis of early diabetic retinopathy reveals mediators of neurodegenerative brain diseases

    Sundstrom, J. M., Hernández, C., Weber, S. R., Zhao, Y., Dunklebarger, M., Tiberti, N., Laremore, T., Simó-Servat, O., Garcia-Ramirez, M., Barber, A. J., Gardner, T. W. & Simó, R., May 2018, In : Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. 59, 6, p. 2264-2274 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Brain Diseases
    Diabetic Retinopathy
    Neurodegenerative Diseases
    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Short-Term Administration of Astaxanthin Attenuates Retinal Changes in Diet-Induced Diabetic Psammomys obesus

    Baccouche, B., Benlarbi, M., Barber, A. & Ben Chaouacha-Chekir, R., Sep 2 2018, In : Current Eye Research. 43, 9, p. 1177-1189 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Diabetic Diet
    High Fat Diet
    18 Citations (Scopus)

    Neurodegeneration in diabetic retinopathy: Potential for novel therapies

    Barber, A. & Baccouche, B., Oct 1 2017, In : Vision Research. 139, p. 82-92 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Diabetic Retinopathy
    Neurotransmitter Agents
    Blood Vessels
    Animal Models