PURPOSE - PGE(2) binds to PGE(2) receptors (EP(1-4)). The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of the EP(4) receptor in angiogenic cell behaviors of retinal Müller cells and retinal microvascular endothelial cells (RMECs) and to assess the efficacy of an EP(4) antagonist in rat models of oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) and laser-induced choroidal neovascularization (LCNV).
METHODS - Müller cells derived from COX-2-null mice were treated with increasing concentrations of the EP(4) agonist PGE(1)-OH, and wild-type Müller cells were treated with increasing concentrations of the EP(4) antagonist L-161982; VEGF production was assessed. Human RMECs (HRMECs) were treated with increasing concentrations of L-161982, and cell proliferation and tube formation were assessed. Rats subjected to OIR or LCNV were administered L-161982, and the neovascular area was measured.
RESULTS - COX-2-null mouse Müller cells treated with increasing concentrations of PGE(1)-OH demonstrated a significant increase in VEGF production (P < or = 0.0165). Wild-type mouse Müller cells treated with increasing concentrations of L-161982 demonstrated a significant decrease in VEGF production (P < or = 0.0291). HRMECs treated with increasing concentrations of L-161982 demonstrated a significant reduction in VEGF-induced cell proliferation (P < or = 0.0033) and tube formation (P < 0.0344). L-161982 treatment significantly reduced pathologic neovascularization in OIR (P < 0.0069) and LCNV (P < or = 0.0329).
CONCLUSIONS - Preliminary investigation has demonstrated that EP(4) activation or inhibition influences the behaviors of two retinal cell types known to play roles in pathologic ocular angiogenesis. These findings suggest that the EP(4) receptor may be a valuable therapeutic target in neovascular eye disease.