PURPOSE. Ocular neovascularization (NV) is a pathologic process characterized by the proliferation and infiltration of various types of cells such as RPE, glial, and endothelial cells, which interact with proangiogenic factors and inflammatory cytokines. Endocan is known to be enriched in retinal endothelial tip cells under hypoxia, but the effect of endocan on ocular NV progression is largely unknown. In this study, we investigated the role of endocan in the ocular NV pathologic process and the possible mechanisms involved. METHODS. In the eyes of mice with oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR); choroidal NV (CNV); and rhodopsin promoter (rho)/VEGF transgenic mice, endocan expression was assessed by quantitative real-time PCR (RT-PCR) and Western blot. In vivo, a specific functional antibody was used to neutralize endocan and ocular NV levels were evaluated by RT-PCR, Western blot and immunostaining of flat-mounts. In vitro, the effect of endocan on human retinal microvascular endothelial cell (HREC) tube formation was observed using a routine method. RESULTS. Endocan was significantly elevated in these three experimental mice models. Endocan blockade with the neutralizer intravitreal injection not only suppressed the area of retinal, choroidal and subretinal NV, but also resulted in a decrease in several angiogenesisassociated molecules. Recombinant endocan protein (rhEndocan) was found to induce tube formation on HRECs directly. CONCLUSIONS. The current data suggest that endocan is a potential therapeutic or an additional target for retinal and subretinal NV diseases.
- Endothelial cell
- Ocular neovascularization
- Vascular endothelial growth factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience