Effects of hypoxic preconditioning and vascular endothelial growth factor on the survival of isolated primary retinal ganglion cells

Hyoung Won Bae, Wungrak Choi, Ah Reum Hwang, Sang Yeop Lee, Gong Je Seong, Chan Yun Kim

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1 Citation (Scopus)


This study aimed to investigate the effect of hypoxic preconditioning (HPC) on primary retinal ganglion cell (RGC) survival and the associated mechanism, including the role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Retinas were separated from the enucleated eyeballs of Sprague– Dawley rats on postnatal days 1–4. RGCs were harvested using an immunopanning-magnetic separation system and maintained for 24 h in a defined medium. Hypoxic damage (0.3% O2) was inflicted on the cells using a CO₂ chamber. Anti-VEGF antibody (bevacizumab) was administered to RGCs exposed to hypoxic conditions, and RGC survival rate was compared to that of non-anti-VEGF antibody-treated RGCs. HPC lasting 4 h significantly increased RGC survival rate. In the RGCs exposed to hypoxic conditions for 4 h, VEGF mRNA and protein levels were significantly increased. Treatment with high dose bevacizumab (>1 mg/mL) countered HPC-mediated RGC sur-vival. Protein kinase B and focal adhesion kinase levels were significantly increased in 4-h hypoxia-treated RGCs. HPC showed beneficial effects on primary RGC survival. However, only specifically controlled exposure to hypoxic conditions rendered neuroprotective effects. Strong inhibition of VEGF inhibited HPC-mediated RGC survival. These results indicate that VEGF may play an essential role in promoting cell survival under hypoxic conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number391
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a faculty research grant of Yonsei University College of Medicine (6-2019-0140) and Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by Ministry of Education (No. NRF-2019R1F1A1061795 and NRF-2019R1A2C1091089). The funding organization played no role in the study design or its conduct.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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