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      The Controversial Role of TGF-β in Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration Pathogenesis

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          The multifunctional transforming growth factors-beta (TGF-βs) have been extensively studied regarding their role in the pathogenesis of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD), a major cause of severe visual loss in the elderly in developed countries. Despite this, their effect remains somewhat controversial. Indeed, both pro- and antiangiogenic activities have been suggested for TGF-β signaling in the development and progression of nAMD, and opposite therapies have been proposed targeting the inhibition or activation of the TGF-β pathway. The present article summarizes the current literature linking TGF-β and nAMD, and reviews experimental data supporting both pro- and antiangiogenic hypotheses, taking into account the limitations of the experimental approaches.

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          Most cited references 87

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          Matricellular proteins: extracellular modulators of cell function.

          The term 'matricellular' has been applied to a group of extracellular proteins that do not contribute directly to the formation of structural elements in vertebrates but serve to modulate cell-matrix interactions and cell function. Our understanding of the mode of action of matricellular proteins has been advanced considerably by the recent elucidation of the phenotypes of mice that are deficient in these proteins. In many cases, aspects of these phenotypes have illuminated previously unsuspected consequences of the lack of appropriate interactions of cells with their environment.
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            Activin receptor-like kinase 1 modulates transforming growth factor-beta 1 signaling in the regulation of angiogenesis.

             T Imamura,  K Goss,  T. Seki (2000)
            The activin receptor-like kinase 1 (ALK1) is a type I receptor for transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) family proteins. Expression of ALK1 in blood vessels and mutations of the ALK1 gene in human type II hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia patients suggest that ALK1 may have an important role during vascular development. To define the function of ALK1 during development, we inactivated the ALK1 gene in mice by gene targeting. The ALK1 homozygous embryos die at midgestation, exhibiting severe vascular abnormalities characterized by excessive fusion of capillary plexes into cavernous vessels and hyperdilation of large vessels. These vascular defects are associated with enhanced expression of angiogenic factors and proteases and are characterized by deficient differentiation and recruitment of vascular smooth muscle cells. The blood vessel defects in ALK1-deficient mice are reminiscent of mice lacking TGF-beta1, TGF-beta type II receptor (TbetaR-II), or endoglin, suggesting that ALK1 may mediate TGF-beta1 signal in endothelial cells. Consistent with this hypothesis, we demonstrate that ALK1 in endothelial cells binds to TGF-beta1 and TbetaR-II. Furthermore, the ALK1 signaling pathway can inhibit TGF-beta1-dependent transcriptional activation mediated by the known TGF-beta1 type I receptor, ALK5. Taken together, our results suggest that the balance between the ALK1 and ALK5 signaling pathways in endothelial cells plays a crucial role in determining vascular endothelial properties during angiogenesis.
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              Laser-induced choroidal neovascularization model to study age-related macular degeneration in mice.

              The mouse model of laser-induced choroidal neovascularization (CNV) has been used extensively in studies of the exudative form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This experimental in vivo model relies on laser injury to perforate Bruch's membrane, resulting in subretinal blood vessel recruitment from the choroid. By recapitulating the main features of the exudative form of human AMD, this assay has served as the backbone for testing antiangiogenic therapies. This standardized protocol can be applied to transgenic mice and can include treatments with drugs, recombinant proteins, antibodies, adenoviruses and pre-microRNAs to aid in the search for new molecular regulators and the identification of novel targets for innovative treatments. This robust assay requires 7-14 d to complete, depending on the treatment applied and whether immunostaining is performed. This protocol includes details of how to induce CNV, including laser induction, lesion excision, processing and different approaches to quantify neoformed vasculature.

                Author and article information

                Int J Mol Sci
                Int J Mol Sci
                International Journal of Molecular Sciences
                27 October 2018
                November 2018
                : 19
                : 11
                [1 ]Ophthalmology Unit of the Department of Medicine, Surgery and Neuroscience, University of Siena, Siena 53100, Italy; gmtosi18@ 123456gmail.com
                [2 ]Department of Biotechnology, Chemistry and Pharmacy, University of Siena, Siena 53100, Italy
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: maurizio.orlandini@ 123456unisi.it (M.O.); federico.galvagni@ 123456unisi.it (F.G.); Tel.: +39-0577-234961 (F.G.)
                © 2018 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).



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