JOURNAL ARTICLE

Vascular endothelial growth factor regulates primate choroid-retinal endothelial cell proliferation and tube formation through PI3K/Akt and MEK/ERK dependent signaling

Jing Jin, Fei Yuan, Min-qian Shen, Yi-fan Feng, Qi-liu He
Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 2013, 381 (1-2): 267-72
23749166
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a hypoxia-induced angiogenic protein that exhibits a broad range of biological and pathological effects in wet age-related macular degeneration and proliferative diabetic retinopathy. However, its specific mechanism is still not fully understood. Here, we examined the effects of VEGF on choroid-retinal endothelial cells (RF/6A) proliferation and tube formation, and the underlying signal pathways responsible in this process. RF/6A cells were pretreated with MEK inhibitor or PI3K inhibitor, and then incubated in a hypoxia chamber. Real-time PCR and Western blot analysis were carried out to explore VEGF expression on mRNA and protein levels. Hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and VEGFR2 expression levels were also investigated in the presence and absence of hypoxic conditions. CCK-8 analysis and tube formation assay were tested under hypoxia, exogenous recombinant VEGF, and different signal pathway inhibitors, respectively. Mean while, the PI3K/Akt and MEK/ERK pathways in this process were also investigated. Our results showed that VEGF, HIF-1α, VEGFR2, p-ERK, and p-Akt were up-regulated in RF/6A cells under hypoxic conditions. MEK inhibitor (PD98059) and PI3K inhibitor (LY294002) decreased ERK and Akt activity, respectively, and reduced VEGF expression. VEGF-induced RF/6A proliferation and tube formation requires MEK/ERK and PI3K/Akt signaling, and both of the two pathways were needed in regulating VEGF expression. These suggest that VEGF plays an important role in RF/6A proliferation and tube formation, and MEK/ERK and PI3K/Akt pathway may be responsible for this process.

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