Nanoparticle-Mediated Expression of a Wnt Pathway Inhibitor Ameliorates Ocular Neovascularization
Objective—The deficiency of very low-density lipoprotein receptor resulted in Wnt signaling activation and neovascularization in the retina. The present study sought to determine whether the very low-density lipoprotein receptor extracellular domain (VLN) is responsible for the inhibition of Wnt signaling in ocular tissues.
Approach and Results—A plasmid expressing the soluble VLN was encapsulated with poly(lactide-co-glycolide acid) to form VLN nanoparticles (VLN-NP). Nanoparticles containing a plasmid expressing the low-density lipoprotein receptor extracellular domain nanoparticle were used as negative control. MTT, modified Boyden chamber, and Matrigel (™) assays were used to evaluate the inhibitory effect of VLN-NP on Wnt3a-stimulated endothelial cell proliferation, migration, and tube formation. Vldlr−/− mice, oxygen-induced retinopathy, and alkali burn–induced corneal neovascularization models were used to evaluate the effect of VLN-NP on ocular neovascularization. Wnt reporter mice (BAT-gal), Western blotting, and luciferase assay were used to evaluate Wnt pathway activity. Our results showed that VLN-NP specifically inhibited Wnt3a-induced endothelial cell proliferation, migration, and tube formation. Intravitreal injection of VLN-NP inhibited abnormal neovascularization in Vldlr−/−, oxygen-induced retinopathy, and alkali burn–induced corneal neovascularization models, compared with low-density lipoprotein receptor extracellular domain nanoparticle. VLN-NP significantly inhibited the phosphorylation of low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 6, the accumulation of β-catenin, and the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor in vivo and in vitro.
Conclusions—Taken together, these results suggest that the soluble VLN is a negative regulator of the Wnt pathway and has antiangiogenic activities. Nanoparticle-mediated expression of VLN may thus represent a novel therapeutic approach to treat pathological ocular angiogenesis and potentially other vascular diseases affected by Wnt signaling.
- Received September 12, 2014.
- Accepted January 19, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.