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Min Zhao, Wankun Xie, Shu-Huai Tsai, Travis W. Hein, Brent A. Rocke, Lih Kuo, Robert H. Rosa; Intravitreal Stanniocalcin-1 Enhances New Blood Vessel Growth in a Rat Model of Laser-Induced Choroidal Neovascularization. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(2):1125-1133. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.17-23083.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of stanniocalcin-1 (STC-1), a photoreceptor-protective glycoprotein, on the development of choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in relation to VEGF and its main receptor (VEGFR2) expression after laser injury.
In rats, CNV was induced by laser photocoagulation in both eyes, followed by intravitreal injection of STC-1 in the right eye and vehicle or denatured STC-1 injection in the left eye as control. Two weeks after laser injury, fundus autofluorescence (FAF) imaging and fundus fluorescein angiography (FFA) were performed. Fluorescein leakage from CNV was graded using a defined scale system. The size of CNV was quantified with spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT), fluorescein-labeled choroid-sclera flat mounts, and hematoxylin-eosin staining. Protein expressions were evaluated by Western blot.
Photocoagulation produced a well-circumscribed area of CNV. With STC-1 treatment, CNV lesions assessed by FAF were increased by 50% in both intensity and area. The CNV lesions were also increased with SD-OCT, flat-mount, and histologic analyses. FFA disclosed enhanced fluorescein leakage in CNV lesions in STC-1 treated eyes. The STC-1 protein was detected in the choroidal tissue and its level was increased with CNV lesions in correlation with VEGF and VEGFR2 expressions. Intravitreal administration of STC-1 significantly increased choroidal expression of both VEGF and VEGFR2 proteins.
Chorodial tissue expresses STC-1, which seemingly acts as a stress response protein by enhancing pathological new blood vessel growth in laser-induced CNV. It is likely that STC-1 promotes CNV development via VEGF signaling.
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