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PURPOSE: Cross-talk between Notch signaling and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a major driver of angiogenesis. Here we investigated the temporal effect of bevacizumab (BEV) on Notch signaling and the functional features of cultured primary retinal pigment epithelial (PRPE) cells. METHODS: Human (cadaver) PRPE cells were treated with clinical concentrations of BEV (0.25 mg/mL). Notch signaling pathway receptors, ligands, and downstream target genes were analyzed with quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Cell proliferation along with phagocytosis and transmembrane potential was analyzed by fluorescent activated cell sorter (FACS) and immunofluorescence. RESULTS: Bevacizumab-treated PRPE cultures revealed a significant temporal downregulation of notch4 (P < 0.05) and Delta-like-4 (P < 0.005) gene (16% reduced) and protein (29.7% reduced) expression only at the 2-hour exposure, though secreted VEGF levels were significantly blocked (P < 0.005) at all the time points (2, 4, 6 hours). Further, a significant downregulation (P < 0.005) in cell cycle (reduced by 34.1%) and a concurrent (P < 0.005) upregulation of F-actin staining (increased by 2.5-fold) could be detected. Bevacizumab-treated PRPE cells revealed an elevated transmembrane potential (by 63%) and significant decrease (P < 0.01) in phagocytosis (by 19.25%) in comparison to untreated controls. CONCLUSIONS: There is temporal interaction between BEV and the Notch signaling pathway, specifically with Notch4 and Delta-like-ligand-4 in PRPE cultures. This transient decrease in Notch signaling can impact the functionality of RPE cells. These findings can help to provide a better understanding of the effect of long-term usage of anti-VEGF agents in the treatment of retinal degenerative and vitreoretinopathy diseases.

Original publication




Journal article


Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci

Publication Date





1140 - 1152


Adult, Aged, Angiogenesis Inhibitors, Bevacizumab, Blotting, Western, Cadaver, Cell Proliferation, Cells, Cultured, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Female, Gene Expression Regulation, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, RNA, Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction, Retinal Pigment Epithelium, Retinal Pigments, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Signal Transduction, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A, Vitreoretinopathy, Proliferative, Young Adult