Retinal and choroidal vascular diseases, with their associated abnormalities in vascular permeability, account for the majority of patients with vision loss in industrialized nations. VEGF is upregulated in ischemic retinopathies such as diabetes and is known to dramatically alter vascular permeability in a number of nonocular tissues via Src kinase–regulated signaling pathways. VEGF antagonists are currently in clinical use for treating the new blood vessels and retinal edema associated with neovascular eye diseases, but such therapies require repeated intraocular injections. We have found that vascular leakage following intravitreal administration of VEGF in mice was abolished by systemic or topical delivery of what we believe is a novel VEGFR2/Src kinase inhibitor; this was confirmed in rabbits. The relevance of Src inhibition to VEGF-associated alterations in vascular permeability was further substantiated by genetic studies in which VEGF injection or laser-induced vascular permeability failed to augment retinal vascular permeability in Src–/– and Yes–/– mice (Src and Yes are ubiquitously expressed Src kinase family members; Src–/– and Yes–/– mice lacking expression of these kinases show no vascular leak in response to VEGF). These findings establish a role for Src kinase in VEGF-mediated retinal vascular permeability and establish a potentially safe and painless topically applied therapeutic option for treating vision loss due to neovascular-associated retinal edema.
Lea Scheppke, Edith Aguilar, Ray F. Gariano, Ruth Jacobson, John Hood, John Doukas, Jon Cao, Glenn Noronha, Shiyin Yee, Sara Weis, Michael B. Martin, Richard Soll, David A. Cheresh, Martin Friedlander