Retinopathy of prematurity shows alterations in Vegfa164 isoform expression.

Olachi Mezu-Ndubuisi // Publications // Sheibani Lab // Jul 20 2021

PubMed ID: 34285351

Author(s): Mezu-Ndubuisi OJ, Song YS, Macke E, Johnson H, Nwaba G, Ikeda A, Sheibani N. Retinopathy of prematurity shows alterations in Vegfa(164) isoform expression. Pediatr Res. 2021 Jul 20. doi: 10.1038/s41390-021-01646-9. [Epub ahead of print] PMID 34285351

Journal: Pediatric Research, Jul 2021

BACKGROUND Pathologic ocular neovascularization in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and other proliferative retinopathies are characterized by dysregulation of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A). A study of Vegfa isoform expression during oxygen-induced ischemic retinopathy (OIR) may enhance our understanding of Vegf dysregulation.

METHODS Following induction of OIR, immunohistochemistry and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed on room air (RA) and OIR mice.

RESULTS Total Vegfa messenger RNA (mRNA) expression was stable in RA mice, but increased in OIR mice with a peak at postnatal day 17 (P17), before returning to RA levels. Vegfa164a expression was similar in both OIR and RA mice at P10 (Phase 1 OIR), but 2.4-fold higher in OIR mice compared to RA mice at P16 (Phase 2 OIR). At P10, Vegfa164b mRNA was similar in OIR vs RA mice, but was expressed 2.5-fold higher in OIR mice compared to RA mice at P16. At P10 and P16, Vegfr2/Vegfr1 expression was increased in OIR mice compared to RA mice. Increased activation of microglia was seen in OIR mice.

CONCLUSIONS Vegfa164a, Vegfa164b, and Vegfr1 were overexpressed in OIR mice, leading to abnormal signaling and angiogenesis. Further studies of mechanisms of Vegf dysregulation may lead to novel therapies for ROP and other proliferative retinopathies.

IMPACT Vegfa164 has two major isoforms, a proangiogenic, Vegfa164a, and an antiangiogenic, Vegfa164b, with opposing receptors, inhibitory Vegfr1, and stimulatory Vegfr2, but their role in OIR is unclear. In Phase 1 OIR, both isoforms and receptors are expressed similarly. In Phase 2 OIR, both isoforms are overexpressed, with an increased ratio of inhibitory Vegfr1. Modulation of angiogenesis by Vegf regulation enables pruning of excess angiogenesis during physiology, but results in ineffective angiogenesis during OIR. Knowledge of VEGF dysregulation may have novel therapeutic implications in the management of ROP and retinal proliferative diseases.

© 2021. The Author(s).