Deguelin inhibits retinal neovascularization by down-regulation of HIF-1α in oxygen-induced retinopathy

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Retinal neovascularization is the most common cause of blindness; Retinopathy of pre-maturity (ROP) for children and diabetic retinopa-thy for young age group. ROP still remains as the most serious cause of vision loss in children. We provided that deguelin significantly reduces retinal neovascularization in a mouse model of ROP. Deguelin never affected the transcriptional activity of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1α, however, reduced HIF-1α expression, which led to the decrease of vascular endothelial growth factor expression. Deguelin effectively suppressed endothelial cell proliferation without cytotoxic effect under therapeutic concentration range. In addition, deguelin demonstrated no reduction or retardation in normal retinal development and no retinal toxicity. These data suggest deguelin is a potent inhibitor of retinal neovascularization and may be applied in the treatment of other vasoproliferative retinopathies.

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