Understanding the neuroprotective role of VEGF-B

Xuri Li, PhD
The National Eye Institute (Bethesda, MD)
Year Awarded:
2007
Grant Duration:
April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2009
Disease:
Glaucoma
Award Amount:
$88,920
Grant Reference ID:
G2007005
Award Type:
Standard
Award Region:
US Northeastern
Recipient of the Thomas R. Lee award for National Glaucoma Research
Xuri Li, PhD

Neuroprotection of Retinal Ganglion Cells by VEGF-B

Summary

We hypothesize that VEGF-B may have a neuroprotective effect on the retinal ganglion cells. To test this hypothesis, we will use multiple approaches and methods, including both normal and VEGF-B transgenic mice, both protein and gene transfer, both gain and loss of function analysis, to investigate the neuroprotective effect of VEGF-B on retinal ganglion cells in vivo.

Details


Glaucoma is the most prevalent form of adult optic neuropathy characterized by the degeneration and death of the retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Molecules with neuroprotective effect on the endangered RGCs are therefore much desired to preserve and rescue the RGCs and thus the vision of glaucoma patients. This research proposal is therefore designed to test in vivo the neuroprotective effect of one such candidate molecule, the vascular endothelium growth factor B (VEGF-B), and to further characterize the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying. VEGF-B has been shown to be a critical neuroprotective factor in the brain. Our current work has shown that VEGF-B may play important roles in the retina. Based on our preliminary studies, we hypothesize that VEGF-B may have a neuroprotective effect on the retinal ganglion cells. To test this hypothesis, we will use multiple approaches and methods, including both normal and VEGF-B transgenic mice, both protein and gene transfer, both gain and loss of function analysis, to investigate the neuroprotective effect of VEGF-B on retinal ganglion cells in vivo. The outcome of this study may lead to possibilities of novel therapy for glaucoma patients and more insight into the course of glaucoma.

Publications

Li, Y., Zhang, F., Nagai, N., Tang, Z., Zhang, S., Scotney, P., Lennartsson, J., Zhu, C., Qu, Y., Fang, C., Hua, J., Matsuo, O., Fong, G. H., Ding, H., Cao, Y., Becker, K. G., Nash, A., Heldin, C. H., Li, X., (2009) VEGF-B inhibits apoptosis via VEGFR-1-mediated suppression of the expression of BH3-only protein genes in mice and rats, J Clin Invest, 118(3): 913-923  

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