Inhibition of mouse alkali burn induced-corneal neovascularization by recombinant adenovirus encoding human vasohibin-1

Shi you Zhou, Zhao lian Xie, Ou Xiao, Xiao ru Yang, Boon Chin Heng, Yasufumi Sato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To evaluate the activity of recombinant adenovirus encoding human vasohibin-1 (Ad-Vasohibin-1) on mouse corneal neovasularization induced by alkali burn. Methods: For the treatment group, 50 mice each received subconjunctival injection (5 μl) of 109 plaque forming units of replication-defective Ad Vasohibin-1. Control group mice received the same dosage of blank adenoviral vector (AdNull). Five days after injection, corneal neovascularization (CNV) was induced by placing 2.5 μl of 0.1 M NaOH on the right cornea for 30 s. Subsequently, CNV was observed and photographed every 3 days for a total duration of 9 days after the alkali burn. The percentage of neovascularized area was measured and compared with the AdNull control. The expression of human vasohibin-1 protein was detected by immunohistochemistry and western blotting at 5, 8, and 14 days after injection. The mRNA expression levels of murine vascular endothelial growth factor (Vegf), VEGF receptor 1 and 2 (Vegfr1, Vegfr2), and vasohibin-1 (Vash1) were analyzed and compared by real time quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Results: The percentage of neovascularized area within the cornea was significantly reduced in mice treatd with Ad- Vasohibin-1 compared to mice treated with AdNull at every time point after alkali-induced injury (7.11%±3.91% and 15.48%±1.79% of corneal area in the treatment and control groups, respectively, on day 3; 31.64%±4.71% and 43.93% ±6.15% on day 6, and 45.02%±9.98% and 66.24%±7.17% on day 9, all p<0.001). Human vasohibin-1 protein was detected at the injection sites on day 3 after corneal burn and was highly expressed in the central subepithelial stroma and colocalized with neovascularized vessels within the alkali-treated cornea on day 6. On day 9, the peripheral cornea exhibited a similar staining pattern as the central cornea, but a more intense vasohibin-1 immunostaining signal was detected in the deep stroma. Some of the vasohibin-1 stain signal diffused into the frontal and deep stroma of the central cornea and was not co-localized with new vessels. By contrast, in mice injected with AdNull or normal corneas, no vasohibin 1 stain signal was detected within the corneas. Vasohibin-1 protein expression within treated corneas was also further confirmed by western blotting on day 5. Expression appeared to peak by day 8 and was maintained at high levels until day 14. However, Vasohibin-1 protein was not detected in the corneas of normal mice or mice treated with AdNull. Real-time quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis showed that expression of Vegfr2 and endogenous Vash1 mRNA were significantly decreased in the treatment versus control group (t1=-2.161, p1=0.047; t2=-2.236, p2=0.041). In contrast, there were no significant differences in Vegf and Vegfr1 mRNA expression levels between the treatment and control groups (p>0.05 for both). Conclusions: Subconjunctival injection of Ad-Vasohibin-1 significantly reduces corneal neovascularization in alkalitreated mouse corneas. This effect of anti-neovascularization may be related to the downregulation of Vegfr2 expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1389-1398
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Vision
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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