Pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in aged human choroid and eyes with age-related macular degeneration

Imran A. Bhutto, D. Scott McLeod, Takuya Hasegawa, Sahng Y. Kim, Carol Merges, Patrick Tong, Gerard A. Lutty

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201 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine the localization and relative levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF; an angiogenic factor) and pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF; an antiangiogenic factor) in aged human choroid and to determine if the localization or their relative levels changed in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Ocular tissues were obtained from eight aged control donors (age range, 75-86 years; mean age, 79.8 years) with no evidence or history of chorioretinal disease and from 12 donors diagnosed with AMD (age range, 61-105 years; mean age, 83.9 years). Tissues were cryopreserved and streptavidin alkaline phosphatase immunohistochemistry was performed with rabbit polyclonal anti-human VEGF and rabbit polyclonal anti-human PEDF antibodies. Binding of the antibodies was blocked by preincubation of the antibody with an excess of recombinant human PEDF or VEGF peptide. Choroidal blood vessels were identified with mouse anti-human CD-34 antibody in adjacent tissue sections. Three independent observers graded the immunohistochemical reaction product. The most prominent sites of VEGF and PEDF localization in aged control choroid were RPE-Bruch's membrane-choriocapillaris complex including RPE basal lamina, intercapillary septa, and choroidal stroma. There was no significant difference in immunostaining intensity and localization of VEGF and PEDF in aged control choroids. The most intense VEGF immunoreactivity was observed in leukocytes within blood vessels. AMD choroid had a similar pattern and intensity of VEGF immunostaining to that observed in aged controls. However, PEDF immunoreactivity was significantly lower in RPE cells (p=0.0073), RPE basal lamina (p=0.0141), Bruch's membrane (p<0.0001), and choroidal stroma (p=0.0161) of AMD choroids. The most intense PEDF immunoreactivity was observed in disciform scars. Drusen and basal laminar deposits (BLDs) were positive for VEGF and PEDF. In aged control subjects, VEGF and PEDF immunostaining was the most intense in RPE-Bruch's membrane-choriocapillaris complex. In AMD, PEDF was significantly lower in RPE cells, RPE basal lamina, Bruch's membrane and choroidal stroma. These data suggest that a critical balance exists between PEDF and VEGF, and PEDF may counteract the angiogenic potential of VEGF. The decrease in PEDF may disrupt the balance and be permissive for the formation of choroidal neovascularization (CNV) in AMD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-110
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental eye research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Bruch's membrane
  • Choroid
  • Choroidal neovascularization
  • Pigment epithelium-derived factor
  • RPE
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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