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Keywords:

  • collagen gel;
  • contraction;
  • PVR;
  • RPE cell;
  • TGF-β2;
  • VEGF

Abstract

Background:  To explore the potential role of vascular endothelial growth factor compared with transforming growth factor-β2 in the regulation of human retinal pigment epithelium cell-mediated collagen gel contraction.

Methods:  The retinal pigment epithelium cell mediated type I collagen gel contraction assay was performed to evaluate and compare the effect of vascular endothelial growth factor and transforming growth factor-β2. The number of viable retinal pigment epithelium cells in the gel and the expression of α-smooth muscle actin were analysed.

Results:  Both vascular endothelial growth factor and transforming growth factor-β2 caused a time dependent gel contraction, associated with over expression of α-smooth muscle actin in retinal pigment epithelium cells undergoing a fibroblast like transformation. The decrease in volume of the collagen gel and increase in α-smooth muscle actin expression were more significant in the transforming growth factor-β2-treated group than in vascular endothelial growth factor-treated group beginning at day 2, and the growth of retinal pigment epithelium cells was significantly more inhibited in the transforming growth factor-β2-treated group compared with the vascular endothelial growth factor-treated group after day 1 (P < 0.05). Transforming growth factor-β2 stimulation increased both vascular endothelial growth factor mRNA expression and secretion. The α-smooth muscle actin expression and the change in volume of collagen gel were significantly positively correlated in both experimental groups.

Conclusions:  Both vascular endothelial growth factor and transforming growth factor-β2 can cause induction of retinal pigment epithelium cell-mediated collagen gel contraction in vitro via partial upregulation of α-smooth muscle actin expression.