The molecular mechanisms whereby placental growth factor (PlGF) mediates its effects in nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (DR) are unknown. To better understand the role of PlGF in DR, we used tandem mass tags (TMT)-labeled quantitative proteomics to human retinal endothelial cells (HRECs), treated anti-PlGF antibody, and PBS as a control. Functional annotation and pathway enrichments were performed, which suggested that the differentially expressed proteins (DEPs) were involved in key metabolic processes, protein binding, and membrane, pentose phosphate pathway PPP and adherens junction. We conducted integrated gene profiles of our previously published transcriptomic data to the TMT-labeled proteomics data. The results showed the sixty proteins were found to be changed at the mRNA levels. The functional annotation conducted for the sixty proteins suggested that 58.3% of proteins were involved in PPP, 25% of proteins were in interleukin-12 singling and 16.7% of proteins were involved in glycolysis and gluconeogenesis pathway. Mass spec results were validated by transendothelial electrical resistance measurement by an electrical cell-impedance sensing and western blot analysis of VE-cadherin, G6PD. These findings suggest that the PPP proteins and antioxidants may act as a downstream target of PlGF and may play a decisive role in HREC biological functions in DR. SIGNIFICANCE: PlGF (Placental growth factor) is known to play a pivotal role in pathological angiogenesis and inflammation by stimulating endothelial cell migration and by recruiting pericytes and inflammatory cells such as microglia and macrophages. Despite the well-defined pathophysiological roles of PlGF, the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms are not completely understood, especially the exact relationships between biochemical events and molecular pathways regulated by PlGF, whose inhibition exhibits a protective role in diabetic retinopathy. This study provides new insights into protein expression patterns and enables the identification of many attractive candidates for investigation of PPP pathway role in the activation of the antioxidant defense system in diabetic retinopathy (DR). Our findings suggest that the PPP proteins and antioxidants (PRDX6, HMOX1, NQO1 and YES1) may act as downstream targets of PlGF and may play a decisive role in HREC biological functions in DR.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier B.V.