Diabetic eye disease is the most common cause of severe vision loss in the working-age population in the developed world, and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) is its most vision-threatening sequela. In PDR, retinal ischemia leads to the up-regulation of angiogenic factors that promote neovascularization. Therapies targeting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) delay the development of neovascularization in some, but not all, diabetic patients, implicating additional factor(s) in PDR pathogenesis. Here we demonstrate that the angiogenic potential of aqueous fluid from PDR patients is independent of VEGF concentration, providing an opportunity to evaluate the contribution of other angiogenic factor(s) to PDR development. We identify angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4) as a potent angiogenic factor whose expression is upregulated in hypoxic retinal Müller cells in vitro and the ischemic retina in vivo. Expression of ANGPTL4 was increased in the aqueous and vitreous of PDR patients, independent of VEGF levels, correlated with the presence of diabetic eye disease, and localized to areas of retinal neovascularization. Inhibition of ANGPTL4 expression reduced the angiogenic potential of hypoxic Müller cells; this effect was additive with inhibition of VEGF expression. An ANGPTL4 neutralizing antibody inhibited the angiogenic effect of aqueous fluid from PDR patients, including samples from patients with low VEGF levels or receiving anti-VEGF therapy. Collectively, our results suggest that targeting both ANGPTL4 and VEGF may be necessary for effective treatment or prevention of PDR and provide the foundation for studies evaluating aqueous ANGPTL4 as a biomarker to help guide individualized therapy for diabetic eye disease.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jun 9 2015|
- Angiopoietin-like 4
- Hypoxia inducible factor-1
- Vascular endothelial growth factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas