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Mol Vis. 2014 Jun 28;20:921-8. eCollection 2014.

Interleukin-4 and melatonin ameliorate high glucose and interleukin-1β stimulated inflammatory reaction in human retinal endothelial cells and retinal pigment epithelial cells.

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The State Key Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.
Aier School of Ophthalmology, Central South University, Changsha, China ; Aier Eye Hospital Group, Changsha, China ; Aier Research Institute of Ophthalmology, Changsha, China.



We aimed to evaluate the effects of two immune regulatory factors, interleukin-4 (IL-4) and melatonin, on several inflammatory mediators that are involved in inflammation and angiogenesis in diabetic retinopathy (DR), in high glucose or interleukin-1β (IL-1β) induced primary human retinal endothelial cells (RECs) and human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells.


Human RECs and RPE cells were cultured in 30 mM D-glucose or 10 ng/ml IL-1β, with or without the presence of 40 ng/ml IL-4 or 100 μM melatonin. The mRNA and protein levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), intercellular cell adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), matrix metalloproteinases 2 (MMP2), and matrix metalloproteinases 9 (MMP9) were measured using real-time PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), respectively.


High glucose and IL-1β induced the expression of VEGF, ICAM-1, MMP2, and MMP9 in human RECs and RPE cells. IL-4 and melatonin downregulated the expression of VEGF, ICAM-1, MMP2, and MMP9 induced by high glucose and IL-1β.


Our results demonstrated that IL-4 and melatonin inhibited inflammation and angiogenesis triggered by high glucose and IL-1β, which suggests that these immune regulatory factors may be of potential therapeutic value in DR.

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