Background: Pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are imbalanced in eyes with proliferative diabetic retinopathy or proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR). It is not known whether such an imbalance is already present in early PVR stages. We therefore analyzed VEGF and PEDF concentrations in subretinal fluids prior to PVR development. Methods: A large number (n = 137) of subretinal fluid samples were obtained at the time of scleral buckling surgery for rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD). Thirty patients developed PVR within 6 months after surgery. One hundred and seven patients undergoing the same surgery but without complications served as controls. Furthermore, vitreous from 16 patients with macular hole or pucker (MHP) served as reference for baseline intraocular concentrations. PEDF and VEGF concentrations were measured by commercial ELISAs. Results: PEDF levels were substantially higher (9.6 µg/ml) compared to MHP vitreous (0.3 µg/ml, p < 0.001). VEGF levels were also higher (RRD: 0.07 ng/ml; MHP: 0.01 ng/ml, p < 0.05). Subretinal concentrations were not significantly different between PVR and control RRD patients. Conclusions: Although both VEGF and PEDF are increased at first surgery for RRD, they do not predict PVR development later on. The high PEDF concentrations and its known antiangiogenic activity suggest a protective role against neovascularization.

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