Leptin, a circulating hormone secreted mainly from adipose tissues, is involved in the control of body weight. Recently, leptin was found to be an angiogenic factor, and its vitreous levels are associated with angiogenic eye diseases such as proliferative diabetic retinopathy. However, the molecular mechanism for leptin-elicited angiogenesis remains to be elucidated. Pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) has been shown to be the most potent natural inhibitor of angiogenesis in the mammalian eye, and its levels in the vitreous were decreased in angiogenic eye diseases. In this study, we investigated whether and how PEDF could inhibit the leptin-induced DNA synthesis in microvascular endothelial cells (EC), a key step of angiogenesis. Leptin significantly increased intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in microvascular EC. PEDF was found to inhibit the leptin-induced ROS generation in EC. An anti-oxidant, N-acetylcysteine, or PEDF completely prevented the leptin-induced upregulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) mRNA levels as well as any increase in DNA synthesis in microvascular EC. Polyclonal antibodies against human VEGF were also found to completely inhibit DNA synthesis in leptin-exposed EC. The present study suggests that leptin could elicit angiogenesis through autocrine VEGF production via intracellular ROS generation. PEDF may block the angiogenic effects of leptin through its anti-oxidative properties.
- Reactive oxygen species
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Cell Biology