School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date



Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is a leading cause of blindness in the U.S. However, not much is known of underlying molecular mechanism and how oxidative stress contributes to its development. In the present study, we investigated the involvement of TGFβ signaling pathway on the effect of oxidative stress on VEGF secretion and viability of retinal cells. VEGF is the hallmark that exacerbates DR progression in prolonged diabetes. Some major concerns that have arisen are the underlying effects of antioxidants in elevating VEGF secretion in diabetes. In this study, we evaluated how hypoxia (or low oxygen) impacts viability and VEGF secretion using 661W cone photoreceptor cells. Confluent 661W cells were grown in 5.5 mM normal or 30 mM high glucose, as well as subjected to CoCl2 to induce hypoxia. After treatment for 24 hours, conditioned media were collected for ELISA measurement to determine the amount of protein (VEGF) secretion. Viable cell numbers were also recorded. High glucose did not induce significant changes in viable cell number nor VEGF concentration in cell media. However, hypoxia condition resulted in a three-fold decrease in viable cell numbers and a three-fold increase in VEGF concentration. Furthermore, treatment with two TGFβ inhibitors: SMAD 3, SIS (or Inhibitor 1) and TGFβ receptor 1 kinase inhibitor (or Inhibitor 2) resulted in a reversal of hypoxia-induced changes. These results strongly suggest that TGFβ signaling pathway mediates hypoxia-induced retinal cell viability and VEGF secretion. Further translational research studies will provide evidence to identify appropriate and effective pharmaceutical targets in this molecular pathway to mitigate the development of DR.


© 2021 Rodriguez R, et al.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

First Page


Last Page


Publication Title

Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol

Academic Level


Mentor/PI Department

Molecular Science

Included in

Ophthalmology Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.