Concurrent physiological and pathological angiogenesis in retinopathy of prematurity and emerging therapies

Chang Dai, Keith A. Webster, Amit Bhatt, Hong Tian, Guanfang Su, Wei Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is an ocular vascular disease affecting premature infants, characterized by pathological retinal neovascularization (RNV), dilated and tortuous retinal blood vessels, and retinal or vitreous hemorrhages that may lead to retinal detachment, vision impairment and blindness. Compared with other neovascular diseases, ROP is unique because of ongoing and concurrent physiological and pathological angiogenesis in the developing retina. While the disease is currently treated by laser or cryotherapy, anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) agents have been extensively investigated but are not approved in the U.S. because of safety concerns that they negatively interfere with physiological angiogenesis of the developing retina. An ideal therapeutic strategy would selectively inhibit pathological but not physiological angiogenesis. Our group recently described a novel strategy that selectively and safely alleviates pathological RNV in animal models of ROP by targeting secretogranin III (Scg3), a disease-restricted angiogenic factor. The preclinical profile of anti-Scg3 therapy presents a high potential for next-generation disease-targeted anti-angiogenic therapy for the ROP indication. This review focuses on retinal vessel development in neonates, the pathogenesis of ROP and its underlying molecular mechanisms, including different animal models, and provides a summary of current and emerging therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4809
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti-angiogenic therapy
  • Oxygen-induced retinopathy
  • Pathological angiogenesis
  • Physiological angiogenesis
  • Retinopathy of prematurity
  • Scg3
  • Secretogranin III
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor
  • Vegf

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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