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N-CAM Exhibits a Regulatory Function in Pathological Angiogenesis in Oxygen Induced Retinopathy
Published: Monday, October 17, 2011
Author: Joakim Håkansson et al.

by Joakim Håkansson, Anders Ståhlberg, Fredrik Wolfhagen Sand, Holger Gerhardt, Henrik Semb


Diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity are diseases caused by pathological angiogenesis in the retina as a consequence of local hypoxia. The underlying mechanism for epiretinal neovascularization (tuft formation), which contributes to blindness, has yet to be identified. Neural cell adhesion molecule (N-CAM) is expressed by Müller cells and astrocytes, which are in close contact with the retinal vasculature, during normal developmental angiogenesis.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Notably, during oxygen induced retinopathy (OIR) N-CAM accumulated on astrocytes surrounding the epiretinal tufts. Here, we show that N-CAM ablation results in reduced vascular tuft formation due to reduced endothelial cell proliferation despite an elevation in VEGFA mRNA expression, whereas retinal developmental angiogenesis was unaffected.


We conclude that N-CAM exhibits a regulatory function in pathological angiogenesis in OIR. This is a novel finding that can be of clinical relevance in diseases associated with proliferative vasculopathy.