Potential long-term inhibition of ocular neovascularisation by recombinant adeno-associated virus-mediated secretion gene therapy

Gene Ther. 2002 Jun;9(12):804-13. doi: 10.1038/sj.gt.3301695.


Neovascularisation (NV) within the eye often results in visual loss. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been implicated in the development of ocular NV. Previous studies have shown that VEGF antagonists successfully suppressed retinal and choroidal NV in animal models. However, the systemic approach and transient nature of the delivery systems used in these studies hinder therapeutic application. To achieve stable and localised ocular anti-angiogenic therapy, we explored the use of recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV)-mediated secretion gene therapy (SGT). In this study, we generated a rAAV vector encoding soluble VEGF receptor 1, sFlt-1 (AAV-CMV.sflt) and determined its ability to inhibit cautery-induced corneal NV and laser-induced choroidal NV. Delivery of AAV-CMV.sflt into the anterior chamber resulted in transgene expression in the iris pigment epithelium and corneal endothelium, which reduced the development of corneal NV in the stroma of cauterised rats by 36% compared with cauterised control groups (P = 0.009). Subretinal delivery of AAV-CMV.sflt near the equator of the eye also suppressed choroidal NV at the laser lesions around the optic nerve by 19% (P = 0.002), indicating that there was diffusion of the secreted anti-angiogenic protein across the retina. Both results suggest that the long-term suppression of ocular NV is possible through the use of stable rAAV-mediated SGT.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Choroid / blood supply*
  • Endothelial Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Corneal / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Genetic Vectors / administration & dosage*
  • Iris / metabolism
  • Lymphokines / metabolism
  • Models, Animal
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / therapy*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-1
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors


  • Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Lymphokines
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-1