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Jing Feng, Li Chen, Yanrong Jiang, Yong Tao; The Role of Apelin/APJ in a Mouse Model of Oxygen-induced Retinopathy. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(8):47. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.61.8.47.
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The aim of this study was to investigate apelin and its potential neovascularization role in retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) along with the inhibitory effects of its antagonist.
We used an oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) mouse model to explore the progress of ROP. Apelin and angiotensin receptor-like 1 APJ expressions were examined in the retina using immunohistochemistry, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, and Western blot analysis. Additionally, the retina was examined by whole-mount staining to evaluate the retinal vessel area, vessel density, capillary width, and the number and length of tip cells. The expression of the phosphorylated mTOR (p-mTOR), p-PI3K/Akt, and p-Erk signaling pathway was also evaluated using Western blot analysis.
Apelin promoted the development of superficial and deep retinal blood vessels, especially for tip cells during the physical development of retinal vessels. Additionally, apelin stimulated the density of the peripheral retinal zone vessels in OIR mice. The apelin and APJ expression levels significantly increased for the OIR model during their hypoxic phase. Next, we found that apelin mRNA levels in the OIR mice peaked at six hours after return to ambient conditions at P12, whereas the APJ mRNA levels peaked later at P17. Furthermore, the expression of p-mTOR, p-Akt, and p-Erk were all up-regulated in OIR mice whereas F13A suppressed them instead.
Our results suggest that apelin/APJ signaling pathway is a key factor for hypoxia-induced pathologic angiogenesis, which is a very promising new target for the treatment of ROP.
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