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Claus Cursiefen, Sharmila Masli, Tat Fong Ng, M. Reza Dana, Paul Bornstein, Jack Lawler, J. Wayne Streilein; Roles of Thrombospondin-1 and -2 in Regulating Corneal and Iris Angiogenesis. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2004;45(4):1117-1124. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.03-0940.
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purpose. Thrombospondin (TSP)-1 and -2 are important antiangiogenic factors thought to be involved in maintaining corneal avascularity (angiogenic privilege). This study was undertaken to investigate whether deficiencies of these factors altered developmental and inflammation-induced angiogenesis in the cornea and developmental angiogenesis of the iris of mice.
methods. Expression of TSP-1 and -2 mRNA and protein was assayed in cornea and iris stroma by RT-PCR and Western blot. Corneas and irides of TSP-1−/−, TSP-2−/−, and TSP-1,2−/− mice aged 2, 3, and 6 months, and wild-type control mice, were analyzed for spontaneous angiogenesis biomicroscopically, histologically, and with CD31 immunohistochemistry. The mouse model of suture-induced, inflammatory corneal neovascularization was used to evaluate the lack of TSP-1,2 and both TSPs on induced-corneal angiogenesis. Seven days after intrastromal placement of three 11-0 sutures, vascularized areas were analyzed morphometrically on CD31-stained corneal flatmounts.
results. Corneas and irises from normal mouse eyes constitutively expressed TSP-1 and -2 mRNAs and proteins. Corneas of TSP-1−/−, -2−/−, and -1,2−/− mice displayed no evidence of spontaneous developmental–postnatal angiogenesis, although irises of these mice contained significantly increased iris vessel density compared with wild-type animals (P < 0.01). One week after suturing, corneas of all TSP−/− mice had significantly greater corneal angiogenesis than those of control mice (P < 0.05). TSP-1−/− had a significantly greater effect on induced corneal neovascularization than did TSP-2−/−, with the opposite being the case in developmental iris angiogenesis (P < 0.01).
conclusions. Corneal avascularity during development is redundantly regulated, shown by the fact that lack of the antiangiogenic factors TSP-1 and/or -2 resulted in no spontaneous corneal angiogenesis. By contrast, TSP-1, more than TSP-2, helps to suppress inflammation-induced corneal angiogenesis postnatally, implying that angiogenic privilege in the cornea is actively maintained.
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