Effects of Dioxin on Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) Production in the Retina Associated with Choroidal Neovascularization

Department of Ophthalmology, Tokyo Medical University, Tokyo, Japan.
Investigative ophthalmology & visual science (Impact Factor: 3.66). 02/2009; 50(7):3410-6. DOI: 10.1167/iovs.08-2299
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cigarette smoking is the most consistent risk factor for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), especially the choroidal neovascularization (CNV)-mediated exudative type. Dioxins and dioxin-like compounds have various effects on living organisms and are also contained in cigarette smoke. However, the effects of dioxins on the eye remain elusive. In this study, the authors examined the association between dioxins and neovascularization in the eye.
C57BL/6 mice were injected intraperitoneally with 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) every other day for 14 days. Messenger RNA expression of cytochrome P450 (CYP)1A1, CYP1B1, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A and VEGF-B, and VEGF production were examined in the eyes of TCDD-treated mice and in human retinal pigment epithelial cell lines (ARPE-19) exposed to TCDD. In addition, CNV was induced by photocoagulation in mice injected with TCDD, and the volume of CNV was compared by fluorescence-labeled choroidal flat mount.
TCDD injected intraperitoneally increased CYP1A1 mRNA expression in the iris/ciliary body and retina, indicating that TCDD acts directly on ocular tissues through the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) to promote the transcription of target genes. TCDD also promoted VEGF-A mRNA expression in the retina and the retinal pigment epithelium. TCDD-induced VEGF production at the molecular level was also observed in vivo by immunohistochemistry and in vitro using ARPE-19. Moreover, the injection of TCDD significantly exacerbated photocoagulation-induced CNV in mice.
The authors demonstrate that dioxins are among the factors inducing abnormal vascularization in the eye through VEGF production mediated by AhR signaling.

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