Dual contribution of TRPV4 antagonism in the regulatory effect of vasoinhibins on blood-retinal barrier permeability: diabetic milieu makes a difference

Sci Rep. 2017 Oct 12;7(1):13094. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-13621-8.


Breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier (BRB), as occurs in diabetic retinopathy and other chronic retinal diseases, results in vasogenic edema and neural tissue damage, causing vision loss. Vasoinhibins are N-terminal fragments of prolactin that prevent BRB breakdown during diabetes. They modulate the expression of some transient receptor potential (TRP) family members, yet their role in regulating the TRP vanilloid subtype 4 (TRPV4) remains unknown. TRPV4 is a calcium-permeable channel involved in barrier permeability, which blockade has been shown to prevent and resolve pulmonary edema. We found TRPV4 expression in the endothelium and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) components of the BRB, and that TRPV4-selective antagonists (RN-1734 and GSK2193874) resolve BRB breakdown in diabetic rats. Using human RPE (ARPE-19) cell monolayers and endothelial cell systems, we further observed that (i) GSK2193874 does not seem to contribute to the regulation of BRB and RPE permeability by vasoinhibins under diabetic or hyperglycemic-mimicking conditions, but that (ii) vasoinhibins can block TRPV4 to maintain BRB and endothelial permeability. Our results provide important insights into the pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy that will further guide us toward rationally-guided new therapies: synergistic combination of selective TRPV4 blockers and vasoinhibins can be proposed to mitigate diabetes-evoked BRB breakdown.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood-Retinal Barrier / drug effects*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Piperidines / pharmacology
  • Quinolines / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium / drug effects
  • Sulfonamides / pharmacology
  • TRPV Cation Channels / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • TRPV Cation Channels / metabolism*


  • GSK2193874
  • Piperidines
  • Quinolines
  • RN 1734
  • Sulfonamides
  • TRPV Cation Channels