The Placental Growth Factor Pathway and its Potential Role in Macular Degenerative Disease

Fiona Cunningham, Tine Van Bergen, Paul Canning, Imre Lengyel, Jean H M Feyen, Alan W Stitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


There is growing evidence that placental growth factor (PlGF) is an important player in multiple pathologies, including tumorigenesis, inflammatory disorders and degenerative retinopathies. PlGF is a member of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family and in the retina, binding of this growth factor to specific receptors is associated with pathological angiogenesis, vascular leakage, neurodegeneration and inflammation. Although they share some receptor signalling pathways, many of the actions of PlGF are distinct from VEGF and this has revealed the enticing prospect that it could be a useful therapeutic target for treating early and late stages of diabetic retinopathy (DR) and neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Recent research suggests that modulation of PlGF could also be important in the geographic atrophy (GA) form of late AMD by protecting the outer retina and the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). This review discusses PlGF and its signalling pathways and highlights the potential of blocking the bioactivity of this growth factor to treat irreversible visual loss due to the two main forms of AMD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)813-822
JournalCurrent eye research
Issue number8
Early online date04 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2019


  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • geographic atrophy
  • neovascular age-related macular degeneration
  • placental growth factor
  • vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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