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Mingjun Tang, Ying Yang, Jingzhi Yu, Jin Qiu, Pei Chen, Yihui Wu, Qiyun Wang, Zhuojun Xu, Jian Ge, Keming Yu, Jing Zhuang; Tetramethylpyrazine in a Murine Alkali-Burn Model Blocks NFκB/NRF-1/CXCR4-Signaling-Induced Corneal Neovascularization. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(5):2133-2141. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.17-23712.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Tetramethylpyrazine (TMP) is the active ingredient extracted from the Chinese herb Chuanxiong. The purpose of our study was to identify the mechanism of therapeutic TMP suppression of pathologic chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) transcription.
C57BL/6J mice with alkali-burned corneas were treated with either TMP eye drops (1.5 mg/mL) or PBS. Corneal neovascularization (CNV) was measured and a clinical assessment was made by slit lamp microscopy. Expression of CXCR4 and the transcription factors nuclear respiratory factor-1 (NRF-1), nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB), forkhead box C1, and yin yang 1 were tracked by real-time RT-PCR and immunofluorescence staining of murine corneas. Western blot, real-time PCR, and immunofluorescence evaluated expression of related genes in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) after 200-μmol/L TMP treatment. In addition, plasmid transfection and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays elucidated the relationship among NRF-1, NFκB, and CXCR4.
Corneas treated with TMP had smaller areas of neovascularization and scored better in clinical assessments. Injured corneas showed significantly elevated expressions of NRF-1, NFκB, and CXCR4 that were normalized in vivo by TMP treatment. Similarly, in HUVECs in vitro, TMP decreased expression of NRF-1, NFκB, and CXCR4. Overexpression of NFκB or NRF-1 raised the expression of CXCR4 in HUVECs, but not synergistically. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays detected only NRF-1 bound to the CXCR4 promoter region, suggesting NFκB controls CXCR4 expression by upregulating NRF-1. Together, our data suggest TMP downregulates CXCR4 by repressing NRF-1 expression in CNV, likely indirectly by downregulating NFκB.
Our results implicate a novel mechanism wherein TMP inhibits neovascularization via an NFκB/NRF-1/CXCR4 circuit.
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