Activation of the VEGF-A/ERK/PLA2 Axis Mediates Early Retinal Endothelial Cell Damage Induced by High Glucose: New Insight from an In Vitro Model of Diabetic Retinopathy

Giovanni Giurdanella, Gabriella Lupo, Florinda Gennuso, Federica Conti, Debora Lo Furno, Giuliana Mannino, Carmelina Daniela Anfuso, Filippo Drago, Salvatore Salomone, Claudio Bucolo
2020 International Journal of Molecular Sciences  
Early blood retinal barrier (BRB) dysfunction induced by hyperglycemia was related to increased pro-inflammatory activity of phospholipase A2 (PLA2) and the upregulation of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A). Here, we tested the role of VEGF-A in high glucose (HG)-induced damage of human retinal endothelial cells (HRECs) mediated by Ca++-dependent (cPLA2) and Ca++-independent (iPLA2) PLA2s. HRECs were treated with normal glucose (5 mM, NG) or high glucose (25 mM, HG) for 48 h with or
more » ... without the VEGF-trap Aflibercept (Afl, 40 µg/mL), the cPLA2 inhibitor arachidonoyl trifluoromethyl ketone (AACOCF3; 15 µM), the iPLA2 inhibitor bromoenol lactone (BEL; 5 µM), or VEGF-A (80 ng/mL). Both Afl and AACOCF3 prevented HG-induced damage (MTT and LDH release), impairment of angiogenic potential (tube-formation), and expression of VEGF-A mRNA. Furthermore, Afl counteracted HG-induced increase of phospho-ERK and phospho-cPLA2 (immunoblot). VEGF-A in HG-medium increased glucose toxicity, through upregulation of phospho-ERK, phospho-cPLA2, and iPLA2 (about 55%, 45%, and 50%, respectively); immunocytochemistry confirmed the activation of these proteins. cPLA2 knockdown by siRNA entirely prevented cell damage induced by HG or by HG plus VEGF-A, while iPLA2 knockdown produced a milder protective effect. These data indicate that VEGF-A mediates the early glucose-induced damage in retinal endothelium through the involvement of ERK1/2/PLA2 axis activation.
doi:10.3390/ijms21207528 pmid:33065984 fatcat:mwnx23xii5csfdeghawi3clk2q