Neovascular age-related macular degeneration is a leading cause of irreversible vision loss in the Western world. Cytokine-targeted therapies (such as anti-vascular endothelial growth factor) are effective in treating pathologic ocular angiogenesis, but have not led to a durable effect and often require indefinite treatment. Here, we show that Nutlin-3, a small molecule antagonist of the E3 ubiquitin protein ligase MDM2, inhibited angiogenesis in several model systems. We found that a functional p53 pathway was essential for Nutlin-3–mediated retinal antiangiogenesis and disruption of the p53 transcriptional network abolished the antiangiogenic activity of Nutlin-3. Nutlin-3 did not inhibit established, mature blood vessels in the adult mouse retina, suggesting that only proliferating retinal vessels are sensitive to Nutlin-3. Furthermore, Nutlin-3 inhibited angiogenesis in nonretinal models such as the hind limb ischemia model. Our work demonstrates that Nutlin-3 functions through an antiproliferative pathway with conceivable advantages over existing cytokine-targeted antiangiogenesis therapies.
Sai H. Chavala, Younghee Kim, Laura Tudisco, Valeria Cicatiello, Till Milde, Nagaraj Kerur, Nidia Claros, Susan Yanni, Victor H. Guaiquil, William W. Hauswirth, John S. Penn, Shahin Rafii, Sandro De Falco, Thomas C. Lee, Jayakrishna Ambati
p53 is necessary for Nutlin-3–mediated cell death.