Retinal vascular diseases (RVD) have been identified as a major cause of blindness worldwide. These pathologies, including the wet form of age-related macular degeneration, retinopathy of prematurity, and diabetic retinopathy are currently treated by intravitreal delivery of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) agents. However, repeated intravitreal injections can lead to ocular complications and resistance to these treatments. Thus, there is a need to find new targeted therapies. Nucleolin regulates the endothelial cell (EC) activation and angiogenesis. In previous studies, we designed a pseudopeptide, N6L, that binds the nucleolin and blocks the tumor angiogenesis. In this study, the effect of N6L was investigated in two experimental models of retinopathies including oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) and choroidal neovascularization (CNV). We found that in mouse OIR, intraperitoneal injection of N6L is delivered to activated ECs and induced a 50% reduction of pathological neovascularization. The anti-angiogenic effect of N6L has been tested in CNV model in which the systemic injection of N6L induced a 33% reduction of angiogenesis. This effect is comparable to those obtained with VEGF-trap, a standard of care drug for RVD. Interestingly, with preventive and curative treatments, neoangiogenesis is inhibited by 59%. Our results have potential interest in the development of new therapies targeting other molecules than VEGF for RVD.
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