Although blocking VEGF has a positive effect in wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the effect of blocking its receptors remains unclear. This was an investigation of the effect of VEGF receptor (VEGFR) 1 and/or 2 blockade on retinal microglia/macrophage infiltration in laser-induced choroidal neovascularization (CNV), a model of wet AMD. CNV lesions were isolated by laser capture microdissection at 3, 7, and 14 days after laser and analyzed by RT-PCR and immunofluorescence staining for mRNA and protein expression, respectively. Neutralizing antibodies for VEGFR1 or R2 and the microglia inhibitor minocycline were injected intraperitoneally (IP). Anti-CD11b, CD45 and Iba1 antibodies were used to confirm the cell identity of retinal microglia/macrophage, in the RPE/choroidal flat mounts or retinal cross sections. CD11b(+), CD45(+) or Iba1(+) cells were counted. mRNA of VEGFR1 and its three ligands, PlGF, VEGF-A (VEGF) and VEGF-B, were expressed at all stages, but VEGFR2 were detected only in the late stage. PlGF and VEGF proteins were expressed at 3 and 7 days after laser. Anti-VEGFR1 (MF1) delivered IP 3 days after laser inhibited infiltration of leukocyte populations, largely retinal microglia/macrophage to CNV, while anti-VEGFR2 (DC101) had no effect. At 14 days after laser, both MF1 and DC101 antibodies markedly inhibited retinal microglia/macrophage infiltration into CNV. Therefore, VEGFR1 and R2 play differential roles in the pathogenesis of CNV: VEGFR1 plays a dominant role at 3 days after laser; but both receptors play pivotal roles at 14 days after laser. In vivo imaging demonstrated accumulation of GFP-expressing microglia into CNV in both CX3CR1gfp/gfp and CX3CR1gfp/+ mice. Minocycline treatment caused a significant increase in lectin+ cells in the sub-retinal space anterior to CNV and a decrease in dextran-perfused neovessels compared to controls. Targeting the chemoattractant molecules that regulate trafficking of retinal microglia/macrophage appears to be a compelling therapeutic strategy to control CNV and treat wet AMD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)