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Vol. 212, No. 6, 1998
Issue release date: November–December 1998
Ophthalmologica 1998:212:410–414

Detection of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor and Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha in Epiretinal Membranes of Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy, Proliferative Vitreoretinopathy and Macular Pucker

Armstrong D. · Augustin A.J. · Spengler R. · Al-Jada A. · Nickola T. · Grus F. · Koch F.
aDepartment of Clinical Laboratory Science and Pathology, University of Buffalo, N.Y., USA; bDepartment of Clinical Ophthalmology, University of Bonn, and cDepartment of Ophthalmology, University of Frankfurt, Germany

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Purpose: To evaluate epiretinal membranes in proliferative eye disease for the presence of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α). Methods: Membranes were surgically removed from 66 patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) and macular pucker (MP). Cytokine concentrations were determined by ELISA (VEGF) and bioassay (TNF-α). Results: VEGF was detected in all 66 membranes investigated. The highest VEGF values were found in patients with type I diabetes (mean = 5,994 pg/mg protein). In patients with type II diabetes, the values were at a mean of 1,242 pg/mg protein. When coagulation therapy was performed for longer than 3 months prior to surgery, VEGF was significantly (p < 0.05) reduced. Intermediate levels of VEGF were found in PVR membranes (mean = 1,417 pg/mg protein). The lowest activity was found in MP (mean = 216 pg/mg protein). In contrast, TNF-α was present in 16 PDR membranes, 9 PVR membranes and 8 MP membranes. Conclusion: The presence of VEGF in all membranes investigated indicates that this cytokine plays an important role in angiogenesis in ischemic retinal disease and in membrane growth in proliferative disorders.

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