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Maurizio Cammalleri, Massimo Dal Monte, Filippo Locri, Liliana Lista, Monica Aronsson, Anders Kvanta, Dario Rusciano, Mario De Rosa, Vincenzo Pavone, Helder André, Paola Bagnoli; The Urokinase Receptor-Derived Peptide UPARANT Mitigates Angiogenesis in a Mouse Model of Laser-Induced Choroidal Neovascularization. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(6):2600-2611. doi: 10.1167/iovs.15-18758.
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A mouse model of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) was used to investigate the anti-angiogenic and anti-inflammatory role of UPARANT in laser-induced choroidal neovascularization (CNV).
Choroidal neovascularization was induced by laser photocoagulation, and UPARANT was intravitreally injected. Some experiments were also performed after either intravitreal injection of anti-VEGF drugs or systemic administration of UPARANT. Immunohistochemistry using CD31 antibodies was used to evaluate the area of CNV. Evans blue dye extravasation was quantitatively assessed. Transcripts of markers of outer blood retinal barrier were measured by quantitative RT-PCR, also used to evaluate angiogenesis and inflammation markers. Western blot was used to determine levels of transcription factors encoding genes involved in angiogenesis and inflammation. Levels of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), its receptor (uPAR), and formyl peptide receptors (FPRs) were determined at the transcript and the protein level.
Intravitreal UPARANT reduced the CNV area and the leakage from the choroid. The uPA/uPAR/FPR system was upregulated in CNV, but was not influenced by UPARANT. UPARANT recovered laser-induced upregulation of transcription factors encoding angiogenic and inflammatory markers. Accordingly, angiogenic and inflammatory factors were also reduced. UPARANT as compared to anti-VEGF drugs displayed similar effects on CNV area.
UPARANT mitigates laser-induced CNV by inhibiting angiogenesis and inflammation through an action on transcription factors encoding angiogenesis and inflammatory genes. The finding that UPARANT is effective against CNV may help to establish uPAR and its membrane partners as putative targets in the treatment of AMD.
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