Characterization of azurocidin as a permeability factor in the Retina: Involvement in VEGF-induced and early diabetic blood-retinal barrier breakdown

Dimitra Skondra, Kousuke Noda, Lama Almulki, Faryan Tayyari, Sonja Frimmel, Toru Nakazawa, Ivana K. Kim, Souska Zandi, Kennard L. Thomas, Joan W. Miller, Evangelos S. Gragoudas, Ali Hafezi-Moghadam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose. Azurocidin, released by neutrophils during leukocyte-endothelial interaction, is a main cause of neutrophil-evoked vascular leakage. Its role in the retina, however, is unknown. Methods. Brown Norway rats received intravitreal injections of azurocidin and vehicle control. Blood-retinal barrier (BRB) breakdown was quantified using the Evans blue (EB) dye technique 1, 3, and 24 hours after intravitreal injection. To block azurocidin, aprotinin was injected intravenously before the intravitreal injections. To investigate whether azurocidin plays a role in vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced BRB breakdown, rats were treated intravenously with aprotinin, followed by intravitreal injection of VEGF 164. BRB breakdown was quantified 24 hours later. To investigate whether azurocidin may mediate BRB breakdown in early diabetes, aprotinin or vehicle was injected intravenously each day for 2 weeks to streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats, and BRB breakdown was quantified. Results. Intravitreal injection of azurocidin (20 μg) induced a 6.8-fold increase in vascular permeability compared with control at 1-3 hours (P < 0.05), a 2.7-fold increase at 3 to 5 hours (P < 0.01), and a 1.7-fold increase at 24 hours (P < 0.05). Aprotinin inhibited azurocidin-induced BRB breakdown by more than 95% (P < 0.05). Furthermore, treatment with aprotinin significantly suppressed VEGF-induced BRB breakdown by 93% (P < 0.05) and BRB breakdown in early experimental diabetes by 40.6% (P < 0.05). Conclusions. Azurocidin increases retinal vascular permeability and is effectively blocked by aprotinin. The inhibition of VEGF-induced and early diabetic BRB breakdown with aprotinin indicates that azurocidin may be an important mediator of leukocyte-dependent BRB breakdown secondary to VEGF. Azurocidin may become a new therapeutic target in the treatment of retinal vascular leakage, such as during diabetic retinopathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)726-731
Number of pages6
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Feb


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