The role of PDGF receptor inhibitors and PI3-kinase signaling in the pathogenesis of corneal neovascularization

Susanne Dell, Swaantje Peters, Philipp Müther, Norbert Kociok, Antonia M Joussen


PURPOSE: Corneal neovascularization remains an unsolved therapeutic problem. Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) is directly linked to vessel formation and stabilization. This study was undertaken to elucidate the mechanisms by which PDGF exerts its effects on corneal angiogenesis.

METHODS: Corneal neovascularization was induced in C57 mice by removal of the limbal epithelium. When mature vessels appeared after 7 days, mice were treated with the PDGF receptor-beta inhibitor AG 1296 or the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K)-inhibitors wortmannin and LY294002, respectively, using an intraperitoneally implanted miniosmotic pump. At day 14 after scraping, corneas of treated and untreated (control) mice were dissected and immunostained with FITC-CD31 antibody for endothelial cells and with Cy3-SMA (smooth muscle actin) for pericytes. VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), ang1/2 (angiopoietin 1 and 2), and PDGF mRNA levels of treated and untreated corneas were determined by real-time RT-PCR.

RESULTS: Mice treated with the PDGF inhibitor AG 1296 showed an inhibition of corneal neovascularization of 21.1% and a reduction of pericytes of 52% in the newly formed vessels compared with untreated animals. VEGF, ang1, ang2, and PDGF mRNA expression was reduced in the corneas of AG 1296-treated mice compared with the respective control. Treatment with the PI3-K inhibitors wortmannin and LY29002 had similar effects, inducing a decrease in corneal neovascularization and a reduction of VEGF, ang1, ang2, and PDGF mRNA levels.

CONCLUSIONS: Inhibition of the PDGF signal pathway results in loss of pericytes and a reduction in vessel density in the neovascularized cornea that correlates with reduced expression of PDGF, ang1/2, and VEGF mRNA. Furthermore, PI3-K was shown to be involved in the regulation of VEGF, ang1, and PDGF, as the PI3-K inhibitors wortmannin or LY294002 had similar effects. Because PDGF is a known stimulus for PI3-K activation, it can be postulated that the observed decrease in VEGF, ang1/2, and PDGF mRNA levels on administration of the PDGF inhibitor is caused by the decreased activation of the PI3-K signaling cascade.

ZeitschriftInvestigative ophthalmology & visual science
Seiten (von - bis)1928-37
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2006
Extern publiziertJa


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