Negative regulators of angiogenesis play a major role in maintaining vascular homeostasis. Thrombospondin-1 (TSP1) is a natural inhibitor of angiogenesis. This report examines the presence of TSP1 in ocular samples and determines whether its production is altered in diabetes. Western blot analysis detected a 140 kDa antiangiogenic fragment of TSP1(gp140) in vitreous samples prepared from normal human and rat eyes. Intact TSP1 was detected in aqueous humor samples prepared from normal rat and bovine eyes. In contrast, TSP1 was virtually absent in vitreous and aqueous humor samples prepared from diabetic rat eyes. Furthermore, production of TSP1 by microvascular endothelial cells in culture was sensitive to high concentrations of glucose. Retinal blood vessels appeared nonuniform and dilated in diabetic animals when compared to control animals. These results demonstrate that TSP1 and its antiangiogenic fragment are present in aqueous humor and vitreous of normal rat eyes and are dramatically reduced in diabetes. Thus, TSP1 may play a role in ocular vascular homeostasis and its absence may contribute to vascular dysfunctions associated with diabetes.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.