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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Plasma VEGF and soluble VEGF receptor FLT-1 in proliferative retinopathy: relationship to endothelial dysfunction and laser treatment.

PURPOSE: To study plasma levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF, an index of angiogenesis), its soluble receptor (sFlt-1) and von Willebrand factor (vWf, an index of endothelial damage or dysfunction) in patients with proliferative retinopathy and corresponding changes in plasma levels after pan-retinal photocoagulation (PRP). METHODS: Eighteen patients (10 men; age, 57+/-16 years, mean +/- SD) with proliferative retinopathy secondary to diabetes (n = 13) and ischemic retinal vein occlusion (n = 5) with no previous PRP therapy were studied. Blood samples were obtained before and at 4 months after the last PRP session. Baseline (prelaser) plasma levels of VEGF, sFlt-1, and vWf (all by ELISA) were compared with levels in 16 diabetic patients with background retinopathy ("hospital controls"), and 18 healthy, age- and sex-matched "healthy controls." RESULTS: Patients with proliferative retinopathy had significantly raised plasma VEGF when compared with both control groups (P = 0.001). Patients with proliferative retinopathy and hospital controls had significantly raised plasma vWf levels when compared with healthy controls (P = 0.012). There was no difference in sFlt-1 levels between patients and controls (P = 0.162). After PRP, there was a significant reduction in plasma VEGF levels at 4 months' follow-up (P < 0.001), but no significant changes in plasma sFlt-1 or vWf levels. Patients with complete resolution of neovascularization had a trend toward lower median VEGF levels (80 versus 150 pg/ml, P = 0.062), but vWf levels (P = 0.50) and sFlt-1 (P = 0.479) were not statistically different. Baseline VEGF and sFlt-1 levels were significantly correlated (Spearman r = 0.505, P = 0.032) but after PRP at 4 months' follow-up, this was no longer significant (r = -0.269, P = 0.28). CONCLUSIONS: In this pilot study, patients with proliferative retinopathy demonstrate elevated peripheral markers of angiogenesis and endothelial dysfunction, suggesting a role for these processes in the pathogenesis of this condition. A fall in levels of VEGF after successful laser treatment may provide an opportunity for monitoring disease progression or relapse via a blood sample.[1]


  1. Plasma VEGF and soluble VEGF receptor FLT-1 in proliferative retinopathy: relationship to endothelial dysfunction and laser treatment. Lip, P.L., Belgore, F., Blann, A.D., Hope-Ross, M.W., Gibson, J.M., Lip, G.Y. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. (2000) [Pubmed]
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