Prevention of Corneal Neovascularization by Adenovirus Encoding Human Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Soluble Receptor (s-VEGFR1) in Lacrimal Gland

LF Nominato, etc
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 2018

Purpose: The aims of this study were (1) to determine the efficacy of adenovirus vector serotype 5 (Ad) encoding human soluble VEGF receptor 1 (s-VEGFR1) gene transfer to the lacrimal gland (LG); (2) to investigate whether expression of s-VEGFR1 prevents corneal neovascularization (CNV) induced by alkali burns; and (3) to evaluate the safety of the procedure.

Methods: AdVEGFR1 vectors (25 µL, 1 × 1010 pfu/mL) were injected in the right LGs of rats and were compared with AdNull vector (25 µL, 1 × 1010 pfu/mL) or 25 µL of saline (Control) before cornea alkali burns with 1 M NaOH. After 7 days, CNV was documented at the slit lamp. Tear secretion was measured with phenol red threads. The animals were tested for s-VEGFR1 mRNA and protein in the LG by quantitative (q)PCR and immunohistochemistry staining, respectively. qPCR was used to compare the mRNA levels of IL-1ß, IL-6, and TNF-a in the LG and ipsilateral trigeminal ganglion (TG).

Results: Ad-VEGFR1 transfected 83% (10/12) of the rats. VEGFR1 was present in LG acinar cells. CNV was prevented in 9 of 12 animals in the Ad-VEGFR1 group, compared with the Ad-Null (3:10) and Control groups (1:10) (P = 0.0317). The tear secretion and cytokine mRNA levels in the LG and TG were similar in all three groups (P > 0.05).

Conclusions: Adenoviral vector gene transfer was safe for LG structure and function. The LG as the target tissue showed local expression of human s-VEGFR1, and CNV was prevented in most of the eyes exposed to alkali burns.

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Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science
doi: 10.1167/iovs.17-22322
University of São Paulo