Corneal (lymph)angiogenesis--from bedside to bench and back: a tribute to Judah Folkman.
ABSTRACT The normal cornea, the transparent "windscreen" of the eye, is devoid of both blood and lymphatic vessels. Nevertheless, both hem- and lymphangiogenesis can occur in response to severe corneal inflammation and can lead to blindness. Judah Folkman and co-workers exceedingly used the normally avascular cornea as the in vivo model system to study the mechanisms of angiogenesis and to test activators and inhibitors of angiogenesis in the last 3 decades. Recently, the cornea also became a successful model to study especially inflammatory lymphangiogenesis. As the last step in the circle from bedside to bench and back, we now are seeing the first (usually off-label) use of specific novel angiogenesis inhibitors in the diseased and pathologically vascularized human cornea to treat sight-threatening corneal angiogenesis and to promote graft survival after corneal transplantation by inhibiting lymphangiogenesis.
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ABSTRACT: Pathological neovascularization is a hallmark of late stage neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 50 in the western world. The treatments focus on suppression of choroidal neovascularization (CNV), while current approved therapies are limited to inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) exclusively. However, this treatment does not address the underlying cause of AMD, and the loss of VEGF's neuroprotective can be a potential side effect. Therapy which targets the key processes in AMD, the pathological neovascularization, vessel leakage and inflammation could bring a major shift in the approach to disease treatment and prevention. In this study we have demonstrated the efficacy of such broad spectrum antiangiogenic therapy on mouse model of AMD. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Lodamin, a polymeric formulation of TNP-470, is a potent broad-spectrum antiangiogenic drug. Lodamin significantly reduced key processes involved in AMD progression as demonstrated in mice and rats. Its suppressive effects on angiogenesis, vascular leakage and inflammation were studied in a wide array of assays including; a Matrigel, delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH), Miles assay, laser-induced CNV and corneal micropocket assay. Lodamin significantly suppressed the secretion of various pro-inflammatory cytokines in the CNV lesion including monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1/Ccl2). Importantly, Lodamin was found to regress established CNV lesions, unlike soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlk-1). The drug was found to be safe in mice and have little toxicity as demonstrated by electroretinography (ERG) assessing retinal and by histology. CONCLUSIONS: Lodamin, a polymer formulation of TNP-470, was identified as a first in its class, broad-spectrum antiangiogenic drug that can be administered orally or locally to treat corneal and retinal neovascularization. Several unique properties make Lodamin especially beneficial for ophthalmic use. Our results support the concept that broad spectrum antiangiogenic drugs are promising agents for AMD treatment and prevention.PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(9). · 4.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Abnormal lymphatic vessel formation (lymphangiogenesis) is associated with different pathologies such as cancer, lymphedema, psoriasis and graft rejection. Lymphatic vasculature displays distinctive features than blood vasculature, and mechanisms underlying the formation of new lymphatic vessels during physiological and pathological processes are still poorly documented. Most studies on lymphatic vessel formation are focused on organism development rather than lymphangiogenic events occurring in adults. We have here studied lymphatic vessel formation in two in vivo models of pathological lymphangiogenesis (corneal assay and lymphangioma). These data have been confronted to those generated in the recently set up in vitro model of lymphatic ring assay. Ultrastructural analyses through Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) were performed to investigate tube morphogenesis, an important differentiating process observed during endothelial cell organization into capillary structures. In both in vivo models (lymphangiogenic corneal assay and lymphangioma), migrating lymphatic endothelial cells extended long processes exploring the neighboring environment and organized into cord-like structures. Signs of intense extracellular matrix remodeling were observed extracellularly and inside cytoplasmic vacuoles. The formation of intercellular spaces between endothelial cells led to tube formation. Proliferating lymphatic endothelial cells were detected both at the tips of sprouting capillaries and inside extending sprouts. The different steps of lymphangiogenesis observed in vivo are fully recapitulated in vitro, in the lymphatic ring assay and include: (1) endothelial cell alignment in cord like structure, (2) intracellular vacuole formation and (3) matrix degradation. In this study, we are providing evidence for lymphatic vessel formation through tunneling relying on extensive matrix remodeling, migration and alignment of sprouting endothelial cells into tubular structures. In addition, our data emphasize the suitability of the lymphatic ring assay to unravel mechanisms underlying lymphangiogenesis.BMC Cell Biology 06/2011; 12:29. · 2.59 Impact Factor
Article: Forkhead box transcription factor FoxC1 preserves corneal transparency by regulating vascular growth.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Normal vision requires the precise control of vascular growth to maintain corneal transparency. Here we provide evidence for a unique mechanism by which the Forkhead box transcription factor FoxC1 regulates corneal vascular development. Murine Foxc1 is essential for development of the ocular anterior segment, and in humans, mutations have been identified in Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome, a disorder characterized by anterior segment dysgenesis. We show that FOXC1 mutations also lead to corneal angiogenesis, and that mice homozygous for either a global (Foxc1(-/-)) or neural crest (NC)-specific (NC-Foxc1(-/-)) null mutation display excessive growth of corneal blood and lymphatic vessels. This is associated with disorganization of the extracellular matrix and increased expression of multiple matrix metalloproteinases. Heterozygous mutants (Foxc1(+/-) and NC-Foxc1(+/-)) exhibit milder phenotypes, such as disrupted limbal vasculature. Moreover, environmental exposure to corneal injury significantly increases growth of both blood and lymphatic vessels in both Foxc1(+/-) and NC-Foxc1(+/-) mice compared with controls. Notably, this amplification of the angiogenic response is abolished by inhibition of VEGF receptor 2. Collectively, these findings identify a role for FoxC1 in inhibiting corneal angiogenesis, thereby maintaining corneal transparency by regulating VEGF signaling.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2011; 109(6):2015-20. · 9.68 Impact Factor