Molecular vision

Simultaneous application of bevacizumab and anti-CTGF antibody effectively suppresses proangiogenic and profibrotic factors in human RPE cells.

PMID 25883524


Retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells play key roles in the development of choroidal neovascularization and subsequent fibrosis. We investigated the impact of bevacizumab, antihuman vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) antibody, and anticonnective tissue growth factor (anti-CTGF) neutralizing antibody, individually or in combination, on proangiogenic and profibrotic properties of RPE cells. Primary cultures of human RPE cells were incubated with different concentrations of bevacizumab (0.25, 0.5, and 0.8 mg/ml) and/or anti-CTGF (10 μg/ml), and cell proliferation and apoptosis were determined. Expression and activity of proangiogenic and profibrotic genes including matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-2 and 9, VEGFA, CTGF, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1 (VEGFR-1), cathepsin D, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP) -1 and -2, and alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) were assessed with slot blot, real-time RT-PCR, and zymography. Bevacizumab alone inhibited proliferation of RPE cells while anti-CTGF or bevacizumab and anti-CTGF combined had no inhibitory effect in this regard. Bevacizumab increased MMP-2, MMP-9, and cathepsin D but decreased VEGFA and VEGFR-1 expression. The CTGF level was increased by using 0.25 mg/ml bevacizumab but decreased at the 0.8 mg/ml concentration of bevacizumab. Treatment with anti-CTGF antibody decreased MMP-2 expression whereas combined treatment with bevacizumab and anti-CTGF resulted in decreased expression of MMP-2, TIMP-1, cathepsin D, VEGFA, CTGF, and α-SMA in the treated cultures. Treatment of RPE cells with the combination of bevacizumab and anti-CTGF could effectively suppress the proangiogenic and profibrotic activity of RPE cells.