Yves Sauvé, PhD
Office: 7-36 Medical Sciences Building
Mail: University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H7
Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology (Adjunct Ophthalmology)
Current Research Activities
A novel model to develop earlier screening and treatment for blindness caused by diabetes
Over 3 million Canadians have been diagnosed with diabetes, and this number is rapidly rising: at the current rate, 3.7 million Canadians will be living with diabetes in 2020. One of the complications of diabetes that contributes heavily to the medical and social burden is vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy. The escalating rate of early onset diabetes in Canada further increases the risk, allowing more time for the development of diabetic retinopathy. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (2011), more than half a million Canadians are afflicted with diabetic retinopathy today; this figure, too, will rise dramatically in the coming years. There is currently no animal model that can combine the advantages of cone-dominant vision, as in the human retina with chronic diet-induced development of diabetic retinopathy resembling that seen in humans; especially after sustained hyperglycemia over 75% the lifespan. We propose to develop a novel animal model that optimally mimics the visual losses caused by type 2 diabetes in humans. Our lab has shown that vision in the Nile rat closely mimics day vision in humans, unlike vision in common lab rodents such rats and mice, which have a very poor daylight vision. Contrary to most rodents, this novel animal model spontaneously develops diabetes in captivity, when fed standard rodent chow, modeling the medical history of human patients. Our preliminary results show that the Nile rat exhibit hallmarks associated with human diabetic retinopathy. Most importantly, the development of the Nile rat, as a novel animal model, will enable researchers to study clinical interventions aimed a preventing and treating this disease that causes blindness in a large proportion of our populations.