The recent success of therapies directly targeting the angiogenic mediator, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), for the treatment of proliferative diabetic retinopathy has encouraged clinicians to extend the use of anti-VEGF therapies for the treatment of another ischemic retinal vascular disease, proliferative sickle cell retinopathy (PSR), the most common cause of irreversible blindness in patients with sickle cell disease. However, results from case reports evaluating anti-VEGF therapies for PSR have been mixed. This highlights the need to identify alternative therapeutic targets for the treatment of retinal neovascularization in sickle cell patients. In this regard, angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4) is a novel angiogenic factor regulated by the transcription factor, hypoxia-inducible factor 1, the master regulator of angiogenic mediators (including VEGF) in ischemic retinal disease. In an effort to identify alternative targets for the treatment of sickle cell retinopathy, we have explored the expression of ANGPTL4 in the eyes of patients with PSR. To this end, we examined expression and localization of ANGPTL4 by immunohistochemistry in autopsy eyes from patients with known PSR (n = 5 patients). Complementary studies were performed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays in aqueous (n = 8; 7 patients, 2 samples from one eye of same patient) and vitreous (n = 3 patients) samples from a second group of patients with active PSR. We detected expression of ANGPTL4 in neovascular tissue and in the ischemic inner retina in PSR, but not control, eyes. We further observed elevated expression of ANGPTL4 in the aqueous and vitreous of PSR patients compared to controls. These results suggest that ANGPTL4 could contribute to the development of retinal neovascularization in sickle cell patients and could therefore be a therapeutic target for the treatment of PSR.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)