Recent reports indicated that tissue renin-angiotensin system (RAS) was upregulated and angiotensin II type 1 receptor signaling plays cmcial roles in ocular inflammation and neovascularization; however, the precise mechanism for activating tissue RAS had not been defined until recently. (Pro)renin receptor, a recently identified molecule existing in the major organs but not in the circulation, has attracted growing attention as an activator of tissue RAS. When the handle region of the prorenin prosegment binds to (pro)renin receptor, prorenin undergoes a conformational change to its enzymatically active state without the conventional proteolysis of the prorenin prosegment. Systemic treatment with a peptide with the structure of the handle region (handle region peptide; HRP), which competitively binds to (pro)renin receptor as a decoy peptide and inhibit the nonproteolytic activation of prorenin, resulted in the suppression of retinal inflammation and neovascularizaion in the rodent models. Retinal expression of RAS-related inflammatory and angiogenic molecules, such as intercellular adhesion molecule-1, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, and vascular endothelial growth factor, was also suppressed with application of HRP. These findings demonstrate that nonproteolytically activated prorenin plays a significant role in the ocular inflammation and neovascularization.
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