Vascular endothelial growth factor in eye disease.

Penn JS, Madan A, Caldwell RB, Bartoli M, Caldwell RW, Hartnett ME
Prog Retin Eye Res. 2008 27 (4): 331-71

PMID: 18653375 · PMCID: PMC3682685 · DOI:10.1016/j.preteyeres.2008.05.001

Collectively, angiogenic ocular conditions represent the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in developed countries. In the US, for example, retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration are the principal causes of blindness in the infant, working age and elderly populations, respectively. Evidence suggests that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a 40kDa dimeric glycoprotein, promotes angiogenesis in each of these conditions, making it a highly significant therapeutic target. However, VEGF is pleiotropic, affecting a broad spectrum of endothelial, neuronal and glial behaviors, and confounding the validity of anti-VEGF strategies, particularly under chronic disease conditions. In fact, among other functions VEGF can influence cell proliferation, cell migration, proteolysis, cell survival and vessel permeability in a wide variety of biological contexts. This article will describe the roles played by VEGF in the pathogenesis of retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. The potential disadvantages of inhibiting VEGF will be discussed, as will the rationales for targeting other VEGF-related modulators of angiogenesis.

MeSH Terms (8)

Diabetic Retinopathy Eye Diseases Humans Infant, Newborn Macular Degeneration Neovascularization, Pathologic Retinopathy of Prematurity Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A

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