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Colin A. Bretz, Aniket Ramshekar, Eric Kunz, Haibo Wang, M. Elizabeth Hartnett; Signaling Through the Erythropoietin Receptor Affects Angiogenesis in Retinovascular Disease. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(10):23. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.61.10.23.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Exogenous erythropoietin (EPO) is being considered for tissue protection and angiogenesis in retinal vascular diseases. However, studies are limited by insufficient tools to address signaling effects through the EPO receptor (EPOR). We used a humanized mouse model of hypoactive EPOR signaling to test the hypothesis that EPOR signaling supports angiogenesis in retinovascular diseases.
Humanized Knockin EPOR mice (hWtEPOR) with hypoactive EPOR signaling were compared to littermate wild-type mice (WT). Postnatal day (p)7 mice of each genotype were exposed to 75% oxygen for five days, followed by 21% oxygen in the oxygen-induced retinopathy model (OIR) and compared to room-air (RA)–raised pups. At time points after OIR, pups were sacrificed, and flat-mounted, lectin-stained retinas were analyzed for central avascular area or intravitreal neovascular area (IVNV). Flash-frozen retinas were analyzed for angiogenic protein (Epo, VEGF, p-Stat3) and gene (Vegfa, Kdr, Epo, Hif1α, Hif2α) expression levels.
In OIR, hWtEPOR mice had increased AVA compared with WT at p8, p12, and p17, but there was no difference in IVNV between hWtEPOR and WT mice at p17. Although VEGF and p-STAT3 proteins were increased in WT at p17 OIR, there were no differences in retinal angiogenic factor expression levels between hWtEPOR and WT OIR at p17 despite similar areas of IVNV.
Our data support the hypothesis that EPOR signaling was associated with regrowth of vascularization following oxygen-induced capillary dropout and played a role in intravitreal angiogenesis. Additional study of EPOR signaling regulation on other angiogenic factor pathways may be considered.
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