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Magali Saint-Geniez, Angel E. Maldonado, Patricia A. D’Amore; VEGF Expression and Receptor Activation in the Choroid during Development and in the Adult. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2006;47(7):3135-3142. doi: 10.1167/iovs.05-1229.
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purpose. Previous studies have demonstrated a role for the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) in the development and maintenance of the choroidal vasculature, suggesting that RPE serves a trophic role for the choroidal vessels. The goal of this study was to determine the expression pattern of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its receptors and their activation status in embryonic and adult choroid, with the purpose of providing cues regarding the role of VEGF in development and stabilization of the choroidal vasculature.
methods. Transgenic VEGF-LacZ mice were used to examine VEGF expression in embryonic and adult eyes. Expression of VEGF isoforms and receptors in the RPE-choroid complex was assessed by RT-PCR and real-time PCR. VEGF receptor 2 expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry and its activation state was examined by immunoprecipitation followed by phosphotyrosine blot.
results. VEGF is expressed by RPE throughout the choroidal vascular development and in the adult. The major VEGF isoforms detected in adult RPE were VEGF120 and VEGF164, with almost no detectable VEGF188. RT-PCR analysis showed expression of VEGF receptors and coreceptors in the RPE–choroid complex. VEGFR2 was detected in the choriocapillaris underlying the RPE. Immunoprecipitation and phosphotyrosine blot of this receptor revealed that VEGFR2 is activated in adult mouse and bovine choroids.
conclusions. The observations suggest that VEGF signaling is involved, not only in choroidal vessel formation, but perhaps also in the maintenance of the choriocapillaris.
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