VEGF mRNA and protein concentrations in the developing human eye

Irene T. Ma, Suzanne McConaghy, Kopperuncholan Namachivayam, Brian A. Halloran, Ashish R. Kurundkar, Krishnan Mohankumar, Akhil Maheshwari, Robin K. Ohls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background:Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a well-characterized regulator of angiogenesis, has been mechanistically implicated in retinal neovascularization and in the pathogenesis of retinopathy of prematurity. However, the ontogeny of VEGF expression in the human fetal retina is not well known. Because retinal vasculature grows with gestational maturation, we hypothesized that VEGF expression also increases in the midgestation human fetal eye as a function of gestational age.Methods:To identify changes in VEGF gene expression during normal human development, we measured VEGF mRNA by quantitative PCR and measured VEGF protein by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and western blots in 10-24 wk gestation fetal vitreous, retina, and serum.Results:VEGF mRNA expression in the retina increased with gestational age. VEGF isoform A, particularly its VEGF 121 splice variant, contributed to this positive correlation. Consistent with these findings, we detected increasing VEGF 121 protein concentrations in vitreous humor from fetuses of 10-24 wk gestation, while VEGF concentrations decreased in fetal serum.Conclusion:VEGF 121 mRNA and protein concentrations increase with increasing gestational age in the developing human retina. We speculate that VEGF plays an important role in normal retinal vascular development, and that preterm delivery affects production of this vascular growth factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)500-505
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 19 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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