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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2008 Jun;49(6):2620-6. doi: 10.1167/iovs.07-0742.

Inhibition of VEGF secretion and experimental choroidal neovascularization by picropodophyllin (PPP), an inhibitor of the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor.

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  • 1Cellular and Molecular Tumour Pathology, Department of Oncology and Pathology, Cancer Centre Karolinska R8:04, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.



Choroidal neovascularization (CNV) is a debilitating complication of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and a leading cause of vision loss. Along with other angiogenic factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 and its receptor, IGF-1R, have been implicated in CNV.


A prior study has shown that the cyclolignan picropodophyllin (PPP) efficiently blocks the insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R) activity and causes cell death in uveal melanoma cell lines and in an in vivo model. In this study we investigated the effect of PPP on VEGF expression, both in vitro and in vivo, and whether this effect has antiangiogenic consequences in a murine CNV model.


C57BL/6J mice with laser-induced CNVs were treated with PPP. Effects on CNV area were assayed by image analysis. VEGF levels in the choroid and retinal pigment epithelial cells (ARPE-19) were measured by Western blot or ELISA. Transcriptional activation of the VEGF promoter was determined by luciferase reporter gene assay.


Mice treated with PPP, administered intraperitoneally or orally, showed a 22% to 32% (P = 0.002) decrease in CNV area. Furthermore, VEGF levels in the choroid were significantly reduced. In cultured ARPE-19 cells, IGF-1 was shown to increase VEGF secretion. This increase was completely blocked by PPP. PPP reduced the level of transcriptional activity of the VEGF promoter.


PPP reduces IGF-1-dependent VEGF expression and CNV in vivo. Accordingly, IGF-1R inhibitors may be useful tools in the treatment of conditions associated with CNV, including neovascular AMD.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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