Prix de la Fondation HMR pour l’excellence à la publication

24 février 2022

Le Département d’ophtalmologie de la Faculté de Médecine de l’Université de Montréal est très fier du mentorat offert par le docteur Mike Sapieha dans son laboratoire.

Celui-ci a contribué au succès de deux  étudiants qu’il supervise, Sergio Crespo Garcia et Elisabeth Andriessen (boursière FROUM), en leur permettant de se hisser aux première et deuxième (ex æquo) places du concours des Prix de la Fondation HMR pour l’excellence à la publication!!

  • 1ère place:

Pathological angiogenesis in retinopathy engages cellular senescence and is amenable to therapeutic elimination via BCL-xL inhibition


par Sergio Crespo Garcia

Attenuating pathological angiogenesis in diseases characterized by neovascularization such as diabetic retinopathy has transformed standards of care. Yet little is known about the molecular signatures discriminating physiological blood vessels from their diseased counterparts, leading to off-target effects of therapy. We demonstrate that in contrast to healthy blood vessels, pathological vessels engage pathways of cellular senescence. Senescent (p16INK4A-expressing) cells accumulate in retinas of patients with diabetic retinopathy and during peak destructive neovascularization in a mouse model of retinopathy. Using either genetic approaches that clear p16INK4A-expressing cells or small molecule inhibitors of the anti-apoptotic protein BCL-xL, we show that senolysis suppresses pathological angiogenesis. Single-cell analysis revealed that subsets of endothelial cells with senescence signatures and expressing Col1a1 are no longer detected in BCL-xL-inhibitor-treated retinas, yielding a retina conducive to physiological vascular repair. These findings provide mechanistic evidence supporting the development of BCL-xL inhibitors as potential treatments for neovascular retinal disease.


  • 2ème place:

Elisabeth Andriessen Myeloid-resident neuropilin-1 promotes choroidal neovascularization while mitigating inflammation


par Elisabeth Andriessen

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in its various forms is a leading cause of blindness in industrialized countries. Here, we provide evidence that ligands for neuropilin-1 (NRP1), such as Semaphorin 3A and VEGF-A, are elevated in the vitreous of patients with AMD at times of active choroidal neovascularization (CNV). We further demonstrate that NRP1-expressing myeloid cells promote and maintain CNV. Expression of NRP1 on cells of myeloid lineage is critical for mitigating production of inflammatory factors such as IL6 and IL1β. Therapeutically trapping ligands of NRP1 with an NRP1-derived trap reduces CNV. Collectively, our findings identify a role for NRP1-expressing myeloid cells in promoting pathological angiogenesis during CNV and introduce a therapeutic approach to counter neovascular AMD.


Un grand bravo à eux trois pour ce bel accomplissement!