Regulation of VEGF expression in human retinal cells by cytokines: Implications for the role of inflammation in age-related macular degeneration

Chandrasekharam N. Nagineni, Vijay K. Kommineni, Abitha William, Barbara Detrick, John J. Hooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Chronic inflammation is implicated in the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Choroidal neovascularization (CNV) observed in exudative form of AMD results in vision loss. Human retinal pigment epithelial cell (HRPE) layer and choroidal tissue are the primary pathological sites in AMD. Pathological and therapeutic evidences have strongly indicated the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) molecules as critical components in CNV pathogenesis. In these studies, we used human primary HRPE and choroidal fibroblast cells (HCHF) prepared from adult donor eyes. The effects of inflammatory cytokine (IFN-γ+TNF-α+IL-1β) mix (ICM) on global gene expression profiles in HRPE cells, revealed 10- and 9-fold increase in VEGF-A and VEGF-C expression, respectively. The microarray results were validated by quantitative RT-PCR and secretion of VEGFs proteins. IL-1β is the most potent in inducing VEGFs secretion followed by IFN-γ and TNF-α, and the secretion was more effective in the presence of 2 and 3 cytokines. NF-κB and JAK-STAT pathway, but not HIF-1α, Sp-1, Sp-3, and STAT-3, transcription factors were upregulated and translocated to nucleus by ICM treatment. The mRNA levels of VEGF-A and VEGF-C and secretion of these proteins were also significantly enhanced by ICM in HCHF cells. The secretion of other angiogenic molecules, PEDF, SDF-1α, endostatin, and angiopoietins was not affected by ICM. Our results show that the inflammatory cytokines enhance secretion of VEGF-A and VEGF-C by HRPE and HCHF cells. These studies indicate that VEGFs secreted by these cells initiate and promote pathological choroidal and retinal noevascularization processes in AMD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-126
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Volume227
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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