Insulin-like growth factor I acts as an angiogenic agent in rabbit cornea and retina: comparative studies with basic fibroblast growth factor

M. B. Grant, R. N. Mames, C. Fitzgerald, E. A. Ellis, M. Aboufriekha, J. Guy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

170 Scopus citations


The release of growth factors from ischaemic retina has been hypothesized as the central stimulus for retinal neovascularization in proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Two of the growth factors implicated are insulin-like growth factor-I and basic fibroblast growth factor. We examined the effect of insulin-like growth factor-I on in vivo neovascularization using the established angiogenic model of the rabbit cornea (n=30), and also compared the effects of insulin-like growth factor-I and basic fibroblast growth factor using two new in vivo systems. Either supraphysiologic concentrations of each growth factor (600 μg) were injected intravitreally into pigmented rabbits (n=21) or porous polyfluorotetraethylene chambers filled with an emulsion containing collagen and growth factor (500 ng) were placed on the retina surface (n=8). Our results demonstrate that when insulin-like growth factor-I was implanted together with a slow release carrier into the pocket of the normally avascular cornea, insulin-like growth factor-I (10 μg/pellet) induced angiogenesis in all rabbits. This degree of angiogenesis was comparable to that previously shown for basic fibroblast growth factor. For the intravitreal studies, the fibrotic component was greater in the basic fibroblast growth factor injected eyes, whereas the vascular component was accentuated in the eyes injected with insulin-like growth factor-I. Light and electron microscopy demonstrated areas of vascular proliferation in both groups. Porous polyfluorotetraethylene chamber studies with insulin-like growth factor-I and basic fibroblast growth factor demonstrated vascular proliferation in the vicinity of the chamber similar to the intravitreal injected eyes, but to a lesser degree than the injected eyes. Our experiments overall support the angiogenic potential of both insulin-like growth factor-I and basic fibroblast growth factor and support distinct but complimentary roles for each growth factor in the pathogenesis of proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-291
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 1993



  • Insulin-like growth factor-I
  • angiogenesis
  • animal models
  • basic fibroblast growth factor
  • diabetic retinopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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