Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapies are now the first-line treatment for many ocular diseases, but some patients are non-responders to these therapies. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the level of adiponectin increased the pathogenesis of retinal edema and neovascularization in the retina of progressive ocular vascular diseases. We examined the role played by adiponectin in two types of cells and animal models which are retinal vein occlusion (RVO) and oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) mice. Our results showed that an injection of anti-adiponectin antibody ameliorated the retinal edema and ischemia through the depression of the expression level of VEGF-related factors and tight junction-related proteins in the retina of RVO mice. The intravitreal injection of anti-adiponectin antibody also decreased the degree of retinal neovascularization in an OIR mice. In addition, exposure of human retinal microvascular endothelial cells and human brain microvascular pericytes in culture to adiponectin increased both the vascular permeability and neovascularization through the increase of inflammatory factor and the dropout of the pericytes. These findings indicate that adiponectin plays a critical role in retinal edema and neovascularization, and adiponectin is a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of diabetic macular edema, proliferative diabetic retinopathy, and RVO.
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