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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2012 Dec 19;53(13):8458-71. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-10408.

Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor 1 morpholino increases graft survival in a murine penetrating keratoplasty model.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

This study sought to determine whether a Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor 1 (VEGFR1)-specific morpholino (MO) could decrease neovascularization, thereby enhancing murine cornea transplant survival, and if this effect is synergistic with steroid therapy.

METHODS:

Graft survival, corneal neovascularization, and corneal lymphangiogenesis were compared among the VEGFR1_MO, STD MO and PBS groups following subconjunctival injection in mice that underwent normal risk penetrating keratoplasty (NR PK) and high-risk penetrating keratoplasty (HR PK). Graft survival, corneal neovascularization, and corneal lymphangiogenesis in groups treated with both VEGFR1_MO and steroid therapy were also analyzed in HR PK.

RESULTS:

In NR PK, the VEGFR1_MO decreased angiogenesis, lymphangiogenesis, and increased graft survival compared with the PBS group (P = 0.055, P = 0.003, P = 0.043, respectively). In HR PK, VEGFR1_MO decreased angiogenesis, lymphangiogenesis, and increased graft survival compared with the STD MO (P = 0.000, P = 0.000, P = 0.029, respectively) and PBS groups (P = 0.004, P = 0.002, P = 0.024). In HR PK, when the VEGFR1_MO was combined with steroid therapy, a significant increase in graft survival was seen compared with steroid treatment alone (P = 0.045). The 2-month graft survival rate for HR PK was 27% in the combination group compared with 0% in the triamcinolone only group.

CONCLUSIONS:

VEGFR1_MO decreased angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis, resulting in increased graft survival in both NR PK and HR PK. This beneficial effect is synergistically enhanced with steroid treatment in HR PK.

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