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Haibo Wang, Xiaokun Han, Eric Kunz, M. Elizabeth Hartnett; Thy-1 Regulates VEGF-Mediated Choroidal Endothelial Cell Activation and Migration: Implications in Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(13):5525-5534. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.16-19691.
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This study addresses the hypothesis that age-related stresses upregulate Thy-1 in choroidal endothelial cells (CECs) and contribute to CEC activation and migration, processes important in choroidal neovascularization (CNV).
Measurements were made of Thy-1 protein (Western blot) in CECs and Thy-1 mRNA (real time quantitative PCR) in CECs treated with VEGF, CCL11, or PBS or in RPE/choroids from young or old donors or lasered or nonlasered mice. Immunolabeled Thy-1 in ocular sections was compared from young versus old human donor eyes or those with or without neovascular AMD or from lasered versus nonlasered mice. Choroidal endothelial cells transfected with Thy-1 or control siRNA or pretreated with Thy-1 blocking peptide or control were stimulated with VEGF or 7-ketocholesterol (7-KC). Choroidal endothelial cell migration, proliferation, cytoskeletal stress fibers, Rac1 activation, and phosphorylated VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2), integrin β3, and Src were measured. Statistics were performed using ANOVA.
Thy-1 was expressed in retinal ganglion cells and in vascular endothelial-cadherin–labeled choroid and localized to human or mouse laser-induced CNV lesions. Thy-1 protein and mRNA were significantly increased in CECs treated with VEGF or CCL11 and in RPE/choroids from aged versus young donor eyes or from lasered mice versus nonlasered controls. Knockdown or inhibition of Thy-1 in CECs significantly reduced VEGF-induced CEC migration and proliferation, stress fiber formation and VEGFR2, Src, integrin β3 and Rac1 activation, and 7-KC–induced Rac1 and Src activation.
Thy-1 in CECs regulates VEGF-induced CEC activation and migration and links extracellular 7-KC to intracellular signaling. Future studies elucidating Thy-1 mechanisms in neovascular AMD are warranted.
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