Retinal neovascularization is a severe pathological process leading to irreversible blindness. This study aims to identify the altered metabolites and their related pathways that are involved in retinal neovascularization.
To reveal the global metabolomic profile change in the retinal neovascularization process, an untargeted metabolomics analysis of oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) mice retinas was carried out first, followed by the validation of amino acids and their derivatives through a targeted metabolomics analysis. The involved pathways were predicted by bioinformatic analysis.
By untargeted metabolomics, a total of 58 and 49 metabolites altered significantly in OIR retinas under cationic and anionic modes, respectively. By bioinformatics analysis, “ABC transporters,” “central carbon metabolism in cancer.” and “alanine, aspartate, and glutamate metabolism” were the most enriched Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways associated with the changed metabolites. By targeted metabolomics, no significant change was found in the assessed amino acids and their derivatives at postnatal day (P) 12, whereas significantly altered amino acids and their derivatives were recognized at P13, P17, and P42 in OIR retinas.
The metabolomic profile was significantly altered in the neovascularized retinas. In particular, numerous amino acids and their derivatives were significantly changed in OIR retinas. These altered metabolites, together with their associated pathways, might be involved in the pathogenesis of retinal neovascular diseases.