Nitric oxide (NO) promotes retinal and choroidal neovascularization, although different isoforms of nitric-oxide synthetase (NOS) are critical in each. Deficiency of endothelial NOS (eNOS) suppresses retinal but not choroidal neovascularization, whereas deficiency of neuronal NOS (nNOS) or inducible NOS (iNOS) suppresses choroidal, but not retinal neovascularization. In this study, we investigated the effect of NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (L-NMMA), a nonspecific NOS inhibitor, in three models of ocular neovascularization. Oral administration of L-NMMA caused significant inhibition of choroidal neovascularization in mice with laser-induced rupture of Bruch's membrane and significantly inhibited subretinal neovascularization in transgenic mice with expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in photoreceptors (rho/VEGF mice) but did not inhibit retinal neovascularization in mice with ischemic retinopathy. By extensive mating among mice deficient in NOS isoforms, triple homozygous mutant mice deficient in all three NOS isoforms were produced. These mice had marked suppression of choroidal neovascularization at sites of rupture of Bruch's membrane and near-complete suppression of subretinal neovascularization in rhoNEGF mice but showed no difference in ischemia-induced retinal neovascularization compared with wild-type mice. These data indicate that NO is an important stimulator of choroidal neovascularization and that reduction of NO by pharmacologic or genetic means is a good treatment strategy. However, the situation is more complex for ischemia-induced retinal neovascularization for which NO produced in endothelial cells by eNOS is stimulatory, but NO produced in other retinal cells by iNOS and/or nNOS is inhibitory. Selective inhibitors of eNOS may be needed for treatment of retinal neovascularization.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine