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Weiwei Jiang, Huan Chen, Zhengfu Tai, Tian Li, Ling Luo, Zongzhong Tong, Weiquan Zhu; Apigenin and Ethaverine Hydrochloride Enhance Retinal Vascular Barrier In Vitro and In Vivo. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2020;9(6):8. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.6.8.
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This study aims to develop an impedance-based drug screening platform that will help identify drugs that can enhance the vascular barrier function by stabilizing vascular endothelial cell junctions.
Changes in permeability of cultured human retinal microvascular endothelial cells (HRMECs) monolayer were monitored in real-time with the xCELLigence RTCA system. Using this platform, we performed a primary screen of 2100 known drugs and confirmed hits using two additional secondary permeability assays: the transwell permeability assay and the XPerT assay. The cellular and molecular mechanisms of action and in vivo therapeutic efficacy were also assessed.
Eleven compounds blocked interleukin 1 beta (IL-1β) induced hyperpermeability in the primary screen. Two of 11 compounds, apigenin and ethaverine hydrochloride, reproducibly blocked multiple cytokines induced hyperpermeability. In addition to HRMEC monolayers, the two compounds stabilized three other types of primary vascular endothelial cell monolayers. Preliminary mechanistic studies suggest that the two compounds stabilize the endothelium by blocking ADP-ribosylation factor 6 (ARF6) activation, which results in enhanced VE-cadherin membrane localization. The two compounds showed in vivo efficacy in an animal model of retinal permeability.
We developed an impedance-based cellular phenotypic drug screening platform that can identify drugs that enhance vascular barrier function. We found apigenin and ethaverine hydrochloride stabilize endothelial cell junctions and enhance the vascular barrier by blocking ARF6 activation and increasing VE-cadherin membrane localization.
The drugs identified from the phenotypic screen would have potential therapeutic efficacy in retinal vascular diseases regardless of the underlying mechanisms that promote vascular leak.
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