Advanced glycation end products increase, through a protein kinase C-dependent pathway, vascular endothelial growth factor expression in retinal endothelial cells. Inhibitory effect of gliclazide

Jean-Claude Mamputu, Geneviève Renier
Journal of Diabetes and its Complications 2002, 16 (4): 284-93
Accumulating evidence points to a causal role for advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in the development of diabetic vascular complications, including retinopathy. Possible pathogenic mechanisms linking AGEs to diabetic retinopathy include protein kinase C (PKC) activation, oxidative stress, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression. In the present study, we investigated the effect of AGEs on VEGF expression in bovine retinal endothelial cells (BRECs) and determined the role of PKC and oxidative stress in this effect. Incubation of BRECs with AGEs led to enhanced VEGF mRNA and protein expression. This treatment also induced PKC translocation in these cells. The AGE-induced increases in VEGF expression and PKC activation were inhibited by the pan-specific PKC inhibitor, calphostin C, and by the antioxidant drug and compounds, gliclazide, N-acetylcysteine, and vitamin E. In contrast, glyburide which does not exhibit antioxidant properties, did not affect the AGE-induced VEGF expression. Exposure of BRECs to AGEs resulted in a significant increase of nuclear protein binding to the NF-kappa B consensus sequence of the VEGF promoter region. Induction of DNA binding activity for NF-kappa B by AGEs was prevented by gliclazide. Treatment of BRECs with AGEs also increased the proliferation of these cells. This effect was abrogated by incubating the cells with an anti-VEGF antibody and was inhibited in the presence of gliclazide. Overall, these data demonstrate that AGEs increase VEGF expression in retinal endothelial cells through generation of oxidative stress and downstream activation of the PKC pathway. Targeting VEGF expression with specific pharmacological agents, such as antioxidants and PKC inhibitors, may prove efficacious for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy.

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