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    Breaking the vicious cycle of PDGF-VEGF

    Boston—The activity in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) involves a close association between endothelial cells and pericytes, the latter of which wraps around endothelial cells of the capillaries and venules.

    Pericytes regulate blood flow, clear cellular debris, are a key factor in the blood-brain barrier, and stabilize maturation of endothelial cells, explained Elias Reichel, MD, professor of ophthalmology, Tufts University School of Medicine, and vice chairman, New England Eye Center, Boston.

    In case you missed it: Toric IOLS + abnormal corneas: Do they mix?

    Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), a mitogenic factor that is a product of the endothelial cells, fibroblasts, and smooth muscle cells, comes in a few isoforms: A, B, C, and D and there are two receptors, a and b.

    PDGF-b is crucial for vasculogenesis, as it initiates proliferation and migration of pericytes, said Dr. Reichel. He added that PDGF-b also is required in cellular division of fibroblasts, and it has roles in wound healing, cancer, and fibrosis.

    “PDGF-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a vicious cycle,” Dr. Reichel said. “Anti-PDGF drugs and anti-VEGF drugs have different mechanisms of action. Anti-PDGF drugs increase sensitivity to anti-VEGF drugs and have anti-fibrotic activity. 

    NEXT: PDGF in pathologic neovascularization

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