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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Sep 5;103(36):13480-4. Epub 2006 Aug 25.

Carboxyethylpyrrole oxidative protein modifications stimulate neovascularization: Implications for age-related macular degeneration.

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Cole Eye Institute and Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and Department of Chemistry, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.

Erratum in

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Oct 17;103(42):15722.


Choroidal neovascularization (CNV), the advanced stage of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), accounts for >80% of vision loss in AMD. Carboxyethylpyrrole (CEP) protein modifications, uniquely generated from oxidation of docosahexaenoate-containing lipids, are more abundant in Bruch's membrane from AMD eyes. We tested the hypothesis that CEP protein adducts stimulate angiogenesis and possibly contribute to CNV in AMD. Human serum albumin (HSA) or acetyl-Gly-Lys-O-methyl ester (dipeptide) were chemically modified to yield CEP-modified HSA (CEP-HSA) or CEP-dipeptide. The in vivo angiogenic properties of CEP-HSA and CEP-dipeptide were demonstrated by using the chick chorioallantoic membrane and rat corneal micropocket assays. Low picomole amounts of CEP-HSA and CEP-dipeptide stimulated neovascularization. Monoclonal anti-CEP antibody neutralized limbal vessel growth stimulated by CEP-HSA, whereas anti-VEGF antibody was found to only partially neutralize vessel growth. Subretinal injections of CEP-modified mouse serum albumin exacerbated laser-induced CNV in mice. In vitro treatments of human retinal pigment epithelial cells with CEP-dipeptide or CEP-HSA did not induce increased VEGF secretion. Overall, these results suggest that CEP-induced angiogenesis utilizes VEGF-independent pathways and that anti-CEP therapeutic modalities might be of value in limiting CNV in AMD.

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