Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays a pivotal role in pathologic ocular neovascularization and vascular leakage via activation of VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2). This study was undertaken to evaluate the therapeutic mechanisms and effects of the tetrapeptide Arg-Leu-Tyr-Glu (RLYE), a VEGFR2 inhibitor, in the development of vascular permeability and choroidal neovascularization (CNV). In cultured human retinal microvascular endothelial cells (HRMECs), treatment with RLYE blocked VEGF-Ainduced phosphorylation of VEGFR2, Akt, ERK, and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), leading to suppression of VEGFA- mediated hyper-production of NO. Treatment with RLYE also inhibited VEGF-A-stimulated angiogenic processes (migration, proliferation, and tube formation) and the hyperpermeability of HRMECs, in addition to attenuating VEGF-A-induced angiogenesis and vascular permeability in mice. The anti-vascular permeability activity of RLYE was correlated with enhanced stability and positioning of the junction proteins VE-cadherin, β-catenin, claudin-5, and ZO-1, critical components of the cortical actin ring structure and retinal endothelial barrier, at the boundary between HRMECs stimulated with VEGF-A. Furthermore, intravitreally injected RLYE bound to retinal microvascular endothelium and inhibited laser-induced CNV in mice. These findings suggest that RLYE has potential as a therapeutic drug for the treatment of CNV by preventing VEGFR2-mediated vascular leakage and angiogenesis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Drug Discovery