While therapies targeting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) have radically changed retina practice, not all patients respond well to such treatment. A recent study suggests a new approach worth exploring: inhibiting a signaling molecule called atypical protein kinase C (aPKC). Doing so reduces blood vessel permeability, blocks inflammation and may help protect vision.

Researchers analyzed the effects of VEGF on retinal vascular permeability and inflammation, and evaluated the protective effect of an experimental small-molecule aPKC inhibitor using a rodent model of retinal inflammation. Injection of both VEGF and inflammatory factor TNF-α increased retinal inflammation, and the small-molecule inhibitor of aPKC prevented vascular permeability.

They found that “collectively, genetic and small-molecule inhibition of aPKC proved effective at reducing retinal inflammation and vascular permeability in both models of retinal inflammation, suggesting aPKC may be an attractive target for therapeutic intervention during inflammatory eye disease.”

Lin CM, Titchenell PM, Keil JM, et al. Inhibition of atypical protein kinase C reduces inflammation-induced retinal vascular permeability. Am J Pathology. September 13, 2018. [Epub ahead of print].