Increased level of vascular endothelial growth factor in aqueous humor of patients with neovascular glaucoma

R C Tripathi, J Li, B J Tripathi, K V Chalam, A P Adamis
Ophthalmology 1998, 105 (2): 232-7

PURPOSE: This study aimed to quantitate and compare the concentration of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in aqueous humor samples from patients with neovascular glaucoma (NVG), primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), and cataract, as well as in serum samples of healthy human subjects.

METHODS: The authors collected aqueous humor samples by using their previously published technique of limbal paracentesis. The authors determined the concentration of VEGF by using a competitive enzyme immunoassay system and four-parameter logistic curve fitting and performed statistical analysis by using the Mann-Whitney-Wilcoxon test.

RESULTS: The authors detected VEGF in 12 of 12 samples from patients with NVG (mean +/- standard error of the mean, 29.267 +/- 7.350 ng/ml), 15 of 28 samples from patients with POAG (0.726 +/- 0.204 ng/ml), 4 of 20 aqueous humor samples from patients with cataract (0.257 +/- 0.043 ng/ml), and 16 of 16 human serum samples (20.246 +/- 1.568 ng/ml). The mean concentration of VEGF in aqueous humor of patients with NVG was 40- and 113-fold higher than that in patients with POAG and cataract, respectively, and the difference was statistically significant (P < 0.01). The VEGF level in patients with POAG was elevated compared with that in patients with cataract (P < 0.05). Although the mean concentration of VEGF in aqueous humor of patients with NVG was approximately 1.45-fold higher than that in serum, the difference was not significant (P > 0.05).

CONCLUSION: The authors' findings show that patients with NVG had a significantly increased level of VEGF in the aqueous humor and implicate VEGF as an important factor in the pathogenesis of intraocular neovascularization in these patients. The authors discuss the possible role of the ciliary epithelium, in addition to retina, in the production of VEGF and the complementary function of basic fibroblast growth factor and other growth factors.

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