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J Neurochem. 2010 Mar;112(6):1584-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2010.06573.x. Epub 2010 Jan 8.

Temporal requirement of RPE-derived VEGF in the development of choroidal vasculature.

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  • 1Department of Medicine Endocrinology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73104, USA.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-A or VEGF) is a potent growth factor for the development of retinal and choroidal vasculatures. To define the temporal requirement of the retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE)-derived VEGF in choroidal vascular development, we generated conditional VEGF knockout mice using an inducible Cre/lox system. The loss of the RPE-derived VEGF was confirmed with immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry. Retinal function and structure were assessed with electroretinography and histology, respectively. Choroidal vascular density was analyzed with computer-assisted semi-quantitative assay using fluorescently labeled choroidal flat-mounts. Induction of RPE-specific VEGF disruption at embryonic day 10 (E10) or E13 for 2 days caused regulatable decreases in choroidal vascular density, photoreceptor function, and photoreceptor outer nuclear layer thickness. The loss of the RPE-produced VEGF after E15 did not cause detectable defects in choroidal vasculatures and photoreceptor function and morphology. These results suggest that the RPE-derived VEGF plays a critical role in choroidal vascular development during organogenesis before E15.

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