Platelet-derived growth factor ligands and receptors immunolocalized in proliferative retinal diseases

S. G. Robbins, R. N. Mixon, D. J. Wilson, C. E. Hart, J. E. Robertson, I. Westra, S. R. Planck, J. T. Rosenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

178 Scopus citations


Purpose. Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and its receptors could contribute to the development of proliferative retinal membranes, because PDGF is angiogenic and is both mitogenic and chemotactic for retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) and glial cells, components of membranes. The authors sought to determine whether PDGF ligands and their receptors were present in proliferative retinal membranes. Methods. To localize PDGF ligands and receptors; the authors examined normal postmortem control retinas, intact eyes with proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) or proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), and membranes removed by vitrectomy from patients with PVR, epimacular proliferation, PDR, or PVR with PDR of previous onset. Sections were stained with antibodies specific for each PDGF ligand and receptor, using an avidin-biotin-complex immunohistochemical technique. To correlate PDGF receptor β (PDGFRβ) and ligand immunostaining, sections were double labelled with antibodies specific for either PDGF-A or PDGF-B. Results. Ligands. In the normal retina and choroid, staining for the A-chain was limited to vascular cells. Only the nerve fiber layer and vessels were positive for the B-chain. In diseased tissue, PDGF-A immunoreactivity was detected as intense staining (+++) of all but one of the proliferative retinal membranes; some RPE cells were positive for PDGF-A, especially in the eye with PDR. PDGF-B was also present in many proliferative retinal membranes but not in RPE cells. Receptors. In the normal retina and choroid, both PDGFRα and PDGFRβ were detected only in vessels. In proliferative retinal membranes, both receptors were detected in vessels. Long strands of RPE-like cells at the edges of PVR membranes were strongly positive for PDGFRβ but negative or ±, respectively, for PDGFRα. Double-label assays showed that PDGFRβ was often colocalized with each PDGF ligand, especially in pigmented cells. Conclusions. PDGF ligands and receptors are widespread in proliferative retinal membranes of different origin. Because PDGFRβ and PDGF-B were colocalized in many of the same cells, the potential for autocrine and paracrine stimulation of cell migration and growth exists. These results are consistent with a role for PDGF ligands and receptors in the pathogenesis of different proliferative retinopathies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3649-3663
Number of pages15
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1994


  • PDGF
  • PDGF receptor
  • immunolocalization
  • proliferative retinal membranes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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