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Hypoxia-inducible factor and vascular endothelial growth factor in the neuroretina and retinal blood vessels after retinal ischemia

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Journal of Ocular Biology, Diseases, and Informatics


Retinal ischemia arises from circulatory failure. As the retinal blood vessels are key organs in circulatory failure, our aim was to study the retinal vasculature separately from the neuroretina to elucidate the role of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) 1α and 1β and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in retinal ischemia. Retinal ischemia was induced in porcine eyes by applying an intraocular pressure, followed by 12 h of reperfusion. HIF-1α mRNA expression was not affected by ischemia, while immunofluorescence staining was higher after ischemia in the neuroretina. HIF-1β immunoreactivity and mRNA expression were unaffected. VEGF protein levels in the vitreous humor and VEGF staining in the neuroretina were more pronounced in eyes subjected to ischemia than in the sham eyes. VEGF may be activated downstream of HIF-1 and is known to stimulate retinal neovascularization, which causes sight-threatening complications. These results emphasize the need for pharmacological treatment to block the HIF and VEGF signaling pathways in retinal ischemia.

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This study was supported in part by the Swedish Medical Research Council, Lund University Faculty of Medicine, the Swedish Government Grant for Clinical Research, the Lund University Hospital Research Grants, the Swedish Medical Association, the Royal Physiographic Society in Lund, the Åke Wiberg Foundation, the Anders Otto Swärd Foundation/Ulrika Eklund Foundation, the Magn Bergvall Foundation, the Crafoord Foundation, the Anna-Lisa and Sven-Erik Nilsson Foundation, Jeansson’s Foundation, Kronprinsessan Margaretas Arbetsnämnd för synskadade, Synskadade i Malmöhus län, Anna and Edvin Berger’s Foundation, the Märta Lundqvist Foundation, and the Lars Hierta Memorial Foundation.

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The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.

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Correspondence to Malin Malmsjö.

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Håkansson, G., Gesslein, B., Gustafsson, L. et al. Hypoxia-inducible factor and vascular endothelial growth factor in the neuroretina and retinal blood vessels after retinal ischemia. j ocul biol dis inform 3, 20–29 (2010).

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