Macrophage-derived tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α has been found in choroidal neovascularization (CNV) surgically removed from patients with age-related macular degeneration. However, the role of TNF-α in CNV development remains unclear. In a murine laser-induced CNV model, compared with un-lasered controls, TNF-α mRNA was increased in retinal pigment epithelial and choroidal tissue, and TNF-α colocalized with lectin-stained migrating choroidal endothelial cells (CECs). Inhibition of TNF-α with a neutralizing antibody reduced CNV volume and reactive oxygen species (ROS) level around CNV. In CECs, pretreatment with the antioxidant apocynin or knockdown of p22phox, a subunit of NADPH oxidase, inhibited TNF-α-induced ROS generation. Apocynin reduced TNF-α-induced NF-κB and Rac1 activation, and inhibited TNF-α-induced CEC migration. TNF-α-induced Rac1 activation and CEC migration were inhibited by NF-κB inhibitor Bay11-7082. Overexpression of Rap1a prevented TNF-α-induced ROS generation and reduced NF-κB and Rac1 activation. Activation of Rap1 by 8-(4-chlorophenylthio)adenosine-2'-O-Me-cAMP prevented TNF-α-induced CEC migration and reduced laser-induced CNV volume, ROS generation, and activation of NF-κB and Rac1. These findings provide evidence that active Rap1a inhibits TNF-α-induced CEC migration by inhibiting NADPH oxidase-dependent NF-κB and Rac1 activation and suggests that Rap1a de-escalates CNV development by interfering with ROS-dependent signaling in several steps of the pathogenic process.
Copyright © 2015 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.