Following chronic ischemia, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is induced primarily in the ganglion cell layer of the retina. This often results in neovascularization (NV) that originates from the vascular bed closest to the ganglion cell layer. To study the effects of VEGF, independent lines of transgenic mice that express VEGF in the lens and in the retina have been generated. Expression in the lens results in excessive proliferation and accumulation of angioblasts and endothelial cells in proximity to the lens. However, VEGF expression is not sufficient to direct blood vessel organization or maturation in the prenatal mouse. Abnormal vessels do form on the retinal surface, but not until the second postnatal week. In transgenic mice expressing VEGF in the photoreceptors, NV originates from the deep capillary bed - the vascular bed closest to the photoreceptors. NV is accompanied by localized blood-retinal barrier breakdown. NV is also induced in PDGF-B transgenic mice. PDGF-B expression in the lens occurs prenatally and, during this time, mainly affects the perilenticular vessels. Postnatally, transgenic mice expressing PDGF-B in the lens or photoreceptors show a similar phenotype. In both models, a highly vascularized cell mass containing endothelial cells, pericytes, and glia forms in the superficial retina, and the formation of the deep capillary bed is inhibited. The phenotype suggests that an additional factor is necessary for the maturation and penetration of vascular endothelial cells into the retina to form the deep capillary bed.
- Blood-retinal barrier
- Interleukin-1 beta
- Platelet-derived growth factor
- Retinal neovascularization
- Transgenic mice
- Vascular endothelial growth factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas