Carotenoid derived aldehydes-induced oxidative stress causes apoptotic cell death in human retinal pigment epithelial cells

Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Texas Medical Branch, Room 2.100, 700 University Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77555-1106, USA.
Experimental Eye Research (Impact Factor: 2.71). 02/2008; 86(1):70-80. DOI: 10.1016/j.exer.2007.09.010
Source: PubMed


Carotenoids have been advocated as potential therapeutic agents in treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In ocular tissues carotenoids may undergo oxidation and form carotenoid-derived aldehydes (CDA), which would be toxic to tissues. We have investigated the cytotoxic effects of CDA from beta-carotene, Lutein and Zeaxanthin on human retinal pigment epithelial cells (ARPE-19). The serum-starved ARPE-19 cells were treated with CDA without or with antioxidant, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and cell viability, apoptosis, reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, nuclear chromatin condensation as well as fragmentation, change in mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and activation of transcription factors NF-kappaB and AP-1 were determined. We observed a dose and time-dependent decline in cell viability upon incubation of ARPE-19 cells with CDA. The CDA treatment also led to elevation in ROS levels in a dose-dependent manner. Upon CDA treatment a significant number of apoptotic cells were observed. Also early apoptotic changes in ARPE-19 cells induced by CDA were associated with change in MMP. Increased nuclear chromatin condensation and fragmentation were also observed in cells treated with CDA. The cytotoxicity of CDA in ARPE-19 cells was significantly ameliorated by the antioxidant, NAC. Furthermore, CDA induced the activation of NF-kappaB and AP-1 which was significantly inhibited by NAC. Thus our results demonstrate that CDA could increase the oxidative stress in ARPE-19 cells by elevating ROS levels that would cause imbalance in cellular redox status, which could lead to cell death. This would suggest that high carotenoid supplementation for treatment of AMD should be used cautiously.

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    • "Lutein is one of the naturally occurring carotenoids and has been proved to reduce H2O2 induced ROS stress in cells [29], [30], [31]. Therefore, we hypothesized that lutein could suppress MTX-induced ROS and thus protect the damage of MTX in IEC-6 cells. "
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