Melatonin could be a promising therapeutic agent for retinopathy of prematurity. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Melatonin attenuated retinal neovascularization and neuroglial dysfunction by inhibition of HIF-1α-VEGF pathway in oxygen-induced retinopathy mice.
J Pineal Res. 2018 Feb 7. Epub 2018 Feb 7. PMID: 29411894
Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a retinopathy characterized by retinal neovascularization (RNV) occurring in preterm infants treated with high concentrations of oxygen and may lead to blindness in severe cases. Currently, anti-VEGF therapy is a major treatment for ROP, but it is costly and may cause serious complications. The previous study has demonstrated that melatonin exerted neuroprotective effect against retinal ganglion cell death induced by hypoxia in neonatal rats. However, whether melatonin is anti-angiogenic and neuroglial protective in the progression of ROP remains unknown. Thus, this study was to investigate the effect of melatonin on RNV and neuroglia in the retina of oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) mice. The results showed a reduction of retinal vascular leakage in OIR mice after melatonin treatment. Besides, the size of retinal neovascular and avascular areas, the number of pre-retinal neovascular cell nuclei and the number of proliferative vascular endothelial cells within the neovascular area were significantly decreased in mice treated with melatonin. After oxygen-induced injury, the density of astrocytes was decreased, accompanied by morphologic and functional changes of astrocytes. Besides, retinal microglia were also activated. Meanwhile, the levels of inflammatory factors were elevated. However, these pathologic processes were all hindered by melatonin treatment. Furthermore, HIF-1α-VEGF pathway was activated in the retina of OIR mice, yet was suppressed in melatonin-treated OIR mice retinas. In conclusion, melatonin prevented pathologic neovascularization, protected neuroglial cells and exert anti-inflammation effect via inhibition of HIF-1α-VEGF pathway in OIR retinas, suggesting that melatonin could be a promising therapeutic agent for ROP. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.