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Comparative gene expression profiling of human umbilical vein endothelial cells and ocular vascular endothelial cells
  1. Andrew C Browning1,
  2. Eugene P Halligan2,
  3. Elizabeth A Stewart1,
  4. Daniel C Swan3,
  5. Rosamund Dove4,
  6. Govindi J Samaranayake1,
  7. Winfried M Amoaku1
  1. 1Division of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Nottingham, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham, UK
  2. 2Department of Infection and Immunology, St Thomas's Hospital, London, UK
  3. 3Bioinformatics Support Unit, Institute of Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  4. 4Molecular Toxicology Group, Department of Forensic Science and Drug Monitoring, King's College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Winfried M Amoaku, Division of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Nottingham, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK; WMA{at}


Background/Aims To investigate the difference between human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and human ocular microvascular endothelial cell (MVEC) gene expression, and to determine if these differences could improve the understanding of ocular angiogenic diseases.

Methods The gene expression profiles of HUVEC and matched unpassaged human choroidal, retinal and iris endothelial cells were conducted using Affymetrix GeneChip Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 arrays. Selected differences were confirmed by real time PCR. Functional cell proliferation assays were used to support microarray findings.

Results HUVEC showed enrichment for probe sets involved in embryological development while ocular MVEC demonstrated enrichment for probe sets for MHC classes I and II, immune responses and cell signal transduction. Comparison of human retinal and choroidal endothelial cells demonstrated significant differences in the expression of probe sets encoding insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) signalling. Cell proliferation assays demonstrated the stimulatory role of IGF-1 on retinal endothelial cells compared with choroidal endothelial cells.

Conclusions Gene expression profiling has demonstrated that HUVEC are probably not a suitable surrogate for the study of ocular angiogenic disorders. There are also significant differences in the gene expression of human retinal and choroidal endothelial cells, which may be important in the mechanism and treatment of choroidal and retinal neovascularisation.

  • Angiogenesis
  • endothelial cell
  • gene expression
  • insulin-like growth factor 1
  • microarray
  • neovascularisation

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  • Funding The British Eye Research Foundation (grant number BERF 0406) funded the salary of the holder (ACB) and the consumables.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Nottingham 2 ethics committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.