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Michael R. R. Böhm, Florian Hodes, Katrin Brockhaus, Stephanie Hummel, Stefan Schlatt, Harutyun Melkonyan, Solon Thanos; Is Angiostatin Involved in Physiological Foveal Avascularity?. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(11):4536-4552. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.16-19286.
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The primate central retina is characterized by an avascular fovea and well-defined perifoveal capillary plexus. Neither blood vessels nor their accompanying astrocytes enter the fovea during any stage of retinal development; a balance of angiogenic and angiostatic factors probably maintains foveal avascularity throughout life. The aim of this study was to identify potentially angiorepulsive factors involved in the development of the avascular primate retinal fovea.
Retinas of newborn, juvenile, and adult Callithrix jacchus and Macaca fascicularis monkeys and control human retinas were studied to determine the localization of angiostatin relative to III β-tubulin, glial fibrillary acidic protein, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1 (PECAM), and the angiostatin receptor αvβ3-integrin in the foveal, macular, and peripheral retina. Expression studies were performed using immunohistochemistry (IHC) on retinal whole-mount and paraffin sections, and Western blotting on frozen material. The complex network of the main retinal cell types was identified by IHC of retinal whole mounts.
In general, lifetime expression of angiostatin was found in all retinas. Colabeling with different markers revealed retinal ganglion cells as the main source of angiostatin expression in the primate retina, whereas PECAM-immunopositive blood capillaries expressed the angiostatin receptor αvβ3-integrin, and capillary-associated astrocytes expressed VEGF.
This study provides the first evidence of angiostatin expression in the primate retina; the expression of angiostatin in the avascular foveal region and the peripheral retina suggests that angiostatin may play a role in the regulation of retinal vascularization, providing a possible explanation for the development and persistence of an avascular fovea.
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