01 Jun The Norrin/Frizzled4 signaling pathway in retinal vascular development and disease
Trends in Molecular Medicine, Vol. 16, No.9 (2010)
Xin Ye, Yanshu Wang, and Jeremy Nathans
Disorders of retinal vascular growth and function are responsible for vision loss in a variety of diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, retinopathy of prematurity and retinal artery or vein occlusion. Over the past decade, a new signaling pathway that controls retinal vascular development has emerged from the study of inherited disorders – in both humans and mice – that are characterized by retinal hypovascularization. This pathway utilizes a glial-derived extracellular ligand, Norrin, that acts on a transmembrane receptor, Frizzled4, a coreceptor, Lrp5, and an auxiliary membrane protein, Tspan12, on the surface of developing endothelial cells. The resulting signal controls a transcriptional program that regulates endothelial growth and maturation. It will be of great interest to determine whether modulating this pathway could represent a therapeutic approach to human retinal vascular disease.