Vascular endothelial growth factor in eye disease

J. S. Penn, A. Madan, R. B. Caldwell, M. Bartoli, R. W. Caldwell, M. E. Hartnett

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

586 Scopus citations


Collectively, angiogenic ocular conditions represent the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in developed countries. In the US, for example, retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration are the principal causes of blindness in the infant, working age and elderly populations, respectively. Evidence suggests that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a 40 kDa dimeric glycoprotein, promotes angiogenesis in each of these conditions, making it a highly significant therapeutic target. However, VEGF is pleiotropic, affecting a broad spectrum of endothelial, neuronal and glial behaviors, and confounding the validity of anti-VEGF strategies, particularly under chronic disease conditions. In fact, among other functions VEGF can influence cell proliferation, cell migration, proteolysis, cell survival and vessel permeability in a wide variety of biological contexts. This article will describe the roles played by VEGF in the pathogenesis of retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. The potential disadvantages of inhibiting VEGF will be discussed, as will the rationales for targeting other VEGF-related modulators of angiogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-371
Number of pages41
JournalProgress in Retinal and Eye Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Angiogenesis
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Retina
  • Retinopathy of prematurity
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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