Collectively, angiogenic ocular conditions represent the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in developed countries. In the US, for example, retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration are the principal causes of blindness in the infant, working age and elderly populations, respectively. Evidence suggests that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a 40 kDa dimeric glycoprotein, promotes angiogenesis in each of these conditions, making it a highly significant therapeutic target. However, VEGF is pleiotropic, affecting a broad spectrum of endothelial, neuronal and glial behaviors, and confounding the validity of anti-VEGF strategies, particularly under chronic disease conditions. In fact, among other functions VEGF can influence cell proliferation, cell migration, proteolysis, cell survival and vessel permeability in a wide variety of biological contexts. This article will describe the roles played by VEGF in the pathogenesis of retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. The potential disadvantages of inhibiting VEGF will be discussed, as will the rationales for targeting other VEGF-related modulators of angiogenesis.
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Retinopathy of prematurity
- Vascular endothelial growth factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems