The uncontrolled growth of blood vessels is a major pathological factor in human eye diseases that can result in blindness. This effect is termed ocular neovascularization and is seen in diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinopathy of prematurity. Current treatments for these diseases include laser photocoagulation, topical injection of corticosteroids, intravitreal injection of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) agents and vitreoretinal surgery. Although strategies to inhibit VEGF have proved to be dramatically successful in some clinical studies, there remains the possibility of significant adverse effects regarding the blockade of crucial physiological roles of VEGF and the invasive nature of the treatments. Moreover, it is evident that other pro-angiogenic factors also play important roles in the development of these diseases, as seen in cases in which antiVEGF therapies have failed. Therefore, new types of effective treatments are required. In this review, we discuss a promising strategy for the treatment of ocular neovascular diseases, i.e., the inhibition of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), a master regulator of angiogenesis. We also summarize promising recently investigated HIF inhibitors as treatments for ocular diseases. This review will facilitate more comprehensive approaches to understanding the protective aspects of HIF inhibition in the prevention of ocular diseases. (DOI: 10.2302/kjm.2021-0004-IR; Keio J Med 71 (1): 1–12, March 2022).
- hypoxia-inducible factor
- vascular endothelial growth factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas