In some forms of Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) and Macular Degeneration (AMD), blindness results from the pathologic development of new blood vessels which are incomplete, weak and porous. The progression of these neovascular diseases is thought to occur through the production of toxic molecules, Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). There are no long term successful therapies for such diseases which have devastating effects on patients and cost the USA over $50 billion/yr. Our long term goal is to develop a therapeutic treatment to protect the health and function of retinal cells and thereby prolong vision and improve the quality of life for patients with DR or AMD. Because the excessive rise in ROS occurs """"""""upstream"""""""" of most other retinal pathologies, it represents a common node which can be targeted by antioxidants and other molecules which increase the expression of """"""""Phase II"""""""" antioxidant enzymes. Our published and preliminary data show that cerium oxide nanoparticles, which catalytically destroy ROS, can prevent development of pathologic choroidal and retinal neovascular lesions and cause the regression of existing pathologic neovessels in the Very Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor null retina by modulating the expression of many retinal genes including Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF). Our central hypothesis is that cerium oxide nanoparticles, because of their catalytic antioxidant activity and long term retention in the retina, will continuously scavenge ROS and inhibit pathologic neovascularization over prolonged times -up to 12 months.
Specific aim 1 will determine duration of nanoceria in the retina and the extent to which they retain activity against neovascularization. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry will quantitate cerium at the parts per billion levels. Fundoscopy, electroretinography and optical coherence tomography will be used for longitudinal studies on the same animal to evaluate neovascularization, retinal function and thickness of the outer nuclear layer. Nanoceria effects on specific genes involved in oxidative stress, inflammation and neovascularization will be analyzed using confocal microscopy, Western blots and PCR arrays.
Specific Aim 2 will demonstrate that nanoceria provide protection to the retina by reducing the effects of oxidative stress on photoreceptors and Retinal Pigment Epithelial (RPE) cells. Gene activity, proteins and structures indicative of photoreceptor- and/or RPE- oxidative stress will be evaluated.
Specific Aim 3 will test the hypothesis that the combinatorial use of nanoceria and sulforaphane, an inducer of Phase II antioxidant enzymes, will result in an additive or synergistic effects in the Vldlr retina. Expected outcomes - the work proposed is expected to demonstrate the longevity, potency and mechanisms by which nanoceria inhibit pathologic neovascularization in the retina. The results are expected to have an important positive impact because the demonstration of the long term effectiveness of the nanoceria will most likely support their therapeutic use and changes in activity of identified genes should provide additional targets important for treating DR, AMD and other diseases which involve oxidative stress.

Public Health Relevance

Pathologic neovascularization occurs in a number of blinding diseases, including Diabetic Retinopathy and Age related Macular Degeneration, in which a common contributory factor is oxidative stress caused by an excessive rise of toxic molecules called Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). Our data show that regenerative catalytic antioxidant cerium oxide nanoparticles destroy ROS, inhibit and reverse pathologic retinal neovascularization by modulating gene expression in the Very Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor null mouse. This project will determine: the longevity, potency and mechanism of action of the nanoceria;the effects of their combinatorial use with an inducer of antioxidant enzymes;and most likely will produce data which supports the therapeutic used of these particles to prolong vision and improve the quality of life for patients with these diseases.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Eye Institute (NEI)
Research Project (R01)
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Biology and Diseases of the Posterior Eye Study Section (BDPE)
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Shen, Grace L
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University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Schools of Medicine
Oklahoma City
United States
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Cai, Xue; McGinnis, James F (2016) Diabetic Retinopathy: Animal Models, Therapies, and Perspectives. J Diabetes Res 2016:3789217
Cai, Xue; Seal, Sudipta; McGinnis, James F (2016) Non-toxic retention of nanoceria in murine eyes. Mol Vis 22:1176-1187
Cai, Xue; Chen, Lijuan; McGinnis, James F (2015) Correlation of ER stress and retinal degeneration in tubby mice. Exp Eye Res 140:130-138
Walkey, Carl; Das, Soumen; Seal, Sudipta et al. (2015) Catalytic Properties and Biomedical Applications of Cerium Oxide Nanoparticles. Environ Sci Nano 2:33-53
Barkam, Swetha; Das, Soumen; Saraf, Shashank et al. (2015) The change in antioxidant properties of dextran-coated redox active nanoparticles due to synergetic photoreduction-oxidation. Chemistry 21:12646-56
Klump, Kathryn E; McGinnis, James F (2014) The role of reactive oxygen species in ocular malignancy. Adv Exp Med Biol 801:655-9
Cai, Xue; Yodoi, Junji; Seal, Sudipta et al. (2014) Nanoceria and thioredoxin regulate a common antioxidative gene network in tubby mice. Adv Exp Med Biol 801:829-36
Saraf, Shashank; Neal, Craig J; Das, Soumen et al. (2014) Understanding the adsorption interface of polyelectrolyte coating on redox active nanoparticles using soft particle electrokinetics and its biological activity. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces 6:5472-82
Cai, Xue; Seal, Sudipta; McGinnis, James F (2014) Sustained inhibition of neovascularization in vldlr-/- mice following intravitreal injection of cerium oxide nanoparticles and the role of the ASK1-P38/JNK-NF-?B pathway. Biomaterials 35:249-58
Wong, Lily L; McGinnis, James F (2014) Nanoceria as bona fide catalytic antioxidants in medicine: what we know and what we want to know…. Adv Exp Med Biol 801:821-8

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