Factors regulating capillary remodeling in a reversible model of inflammatory corneal angiogenesis

Sci Rep. 2016 Aug 26:6:32137. doi: 10.1038/srep32137.


Newly formed microcapillary networks arising in adult organisms by angiogenic and inflammatory stimuli contribute to pathologies such as corneal and retinal blindness, tumor growth, and metastasis. Therapeutic inhibition of pathologic angiogenesis has focused on targeting the VEGF pathway, while comparatively little attention has been given to remodeling of the new microcapillaries into a stabilized, functional, and persistent vascular network. Here, we used a novel reversible model of inflammatory angiogenesis in the rat cornea to investigate endogenous factors rapidly invoked to remodel, normalize and regress microcapillaries as part of the natural response to regain corneal avascularity. Rapid reversal of an inflammatory angiogenic stimulus suppressed granulocytic activity, enhanced recruitment of remodelling macrophages, induced capillary intussusception, and enriched pathways and processes involving immune cells, chemokines, morphogenesis, axonal guidance, and cell motility, adhesion, and cytoskeletal functions. Whole transcriptome gene expression analysis revealed suppression of numerous inflammatory and angiogenic factors and enhancement of endogenous inhibitors. Many of the identified genes function independently of VEGF and represent potentially new targets for molecular control of the critical process of microvascular remodeling and regression in the cornea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Capillaries / metabolism*
  • Capillaries / pathology
  • Capillaries / physiopathology
  • Corneal Neovascularization / metabolism*
  • Corneal Neovascularization / pathology
  • Corneal Neovascularization / physiopathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism*
  • Vascular Remodeling*


  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • vascular endothelial growth factor A, rat