Neuropeptide Y expression in a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy


Rosemary D Higgins, MD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Georgetown University Children's Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, 3800 Reservoir Road, NW, Room M3400, Washington, DC 20007, USA. Email:


Background: Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a potent vaso­constrictor and angiogenic agent that is found in the retina. The goal of this study was to determine the expression of NPY and its receptors, NPY Y1 and NPY Y2, in a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy.

Methods: Retinal NPY, NPY Y1, and NPY Y2 mRNA expression were evaluated using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Neuropeptide Y cellular localization was determined using immunohistochemistry.

Results: Retinal NPY mRNA expression was increased by 2.3-fold from P7 to P12, and 2.8-fold from P7 to P17 in oxygen-reared animals. Retinal NPY Y1 was increased 1.9-fold from P7 to P12 in room-air-reared animals. There was no change in NPY Y1 expression following exposure to oxygen. Retinal NPY Y2 expression in oxygen-reared animals increased by 2.8-fold from P7 to P12 and by 2.7-fold from P12 to P17. There was no change in NPY Y2 expression in room-air-reared animals. Retinal NPY and NPY Y2 expression increased concomitant with vasoconstriction and neovascularization seen in this model by evaluation of retinal whole mounts. Neuropeptide Y protein was detectable by immunohistochemistry mainly between the inner and outer nuclear layers and increased with hyperoxic exposure at P12 and also increased during the period of relative retinal hypoxia at P17.

Conclusions: Retinal NPY and NPY Y2 receptor expression are altered in the development of oxygen-induced retinopathy of the mouse, during both the hyperoxic vasoconstrictive phase and the period of retinal neovascularization. Alteration in the production of NPY and the NPY Y2 receptor may be avenues for potential modification in the development of retinopathy.