Normal mammalian vitreous humor maintains its avascularity after regression of hyaloid vessels. Neovascularization in adults is only detected under pathological conditions which suggests that antiangiogenic factors are present in the vitreous humor. To elucidate the mechanism of vitreal angiogenic inhibition, we investigated the effect of vitreous humor on cultured vascular endothelial cells. When bovine aortic endothelial cells were cultured in the presence of bovine vitreous humor in medium, a decrease in cell viability was observed within 24 h. Ascorbic acid from vitreous humor has been identified as a cell death inducing factor with high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC and molecular mass analysis. Ascorbic acid reduced endothelial cell viability at concentrations normally present in vitreous humor. This effect was completely inhibited by antioxidants, N-acetylcysteine and catalase. Amongst the ascorbic acid derivatives tested, ascorbic acid 2-phosphate did not induce cell death, suggesting that the production of ascorbyl radical is required for induction of cell death. Furthermore, capillary formation in three-dimensional collagen gel cultures characteristic of vascular endothelial cells were disrupted in the presence of ascorbic acid. Since ascorbic acid is highly concentrated in ocular tissues, especially in vitreous humor, it may function as a neovascularization inhibitor.
ASJC Scopus subject areas