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Antioxidants 2017, 6(4), 100; doi:10.3390/antiox6040100

Effects of the Macular Carotenoid Lutein in Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells

1
Department of Pediatrics, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, TX 79905, USA
2
Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, TX 79905, USA
3
All Children’s Research Institute, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, USA
4
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, TX 79905, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 7 November 2017 / Revised: 30 November 2017 / Accepted: 1 December 2017 / Published: 4 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids—Antioxidant Properties)
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Abstract

Retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells are central to retinal health and homoeostasis. Oxidative stress-induced damage to the RPE occurs as part of the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration and neovascular retinopathies (e.g., retinopathy of prematurity, diabetic retinopathy). The xanthophyll carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, are selectively taken up by the RPE, preferentially accumulated in the human macula, and transferred to photoreceptors. These macular xanthophylls protect the macula (and the broader retina) via their antioxidant and photo-protective activities. This study was designed to investigate effects of various carotenoids (β-carotene, lycopene, and lutein) on RPE cells subjected to either hypoxia or oxidative stress, in order to determine if there is effect specificity for macular pigment carotenoids. Using human RPE-derived ARPE-19 cells as an in vitro model, we exposed RPE cells to various concentrations of the specific carotenoids, followed by either graded hypoxia or oxidative stress using tert-butyl hydroperoxide (tBHP). The results indicate that lutein and lycopene, but not β-carotene, inhibit cell growth in undifferentiated ARPE-19 cells. Moreover, cell viability was decreased under hypoxic conditions. Pre-incubation of ARPE-19 cells with lutein or lycopene protected against tBHP-induced cell loss and cell co-exposure of lutein or lycopene with tBHP essentially neutralized tBHP-dependent cell death at tBHP concentrations up to 500 μM. Our findings indicate that lutein and lycopene inhibit the growth of human RPE cells and protect the RPE against oxidative stress-induced cell loss. These findings contribute to the understanding of the protective mechanisms attributable to retinal xanthophylls in eye health and retinopathies. View Full-Text
Keywords: xanthophyll; lutein; lycopene; carotenoids; retinal pigment epithelium; hypoxia; oxidative stress; tBHP xanthophyll; lutein; lycopene; carotenoids; retinal pigment epithelium; hypoxia; oxidative stress; tBHP
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gong, X.; Draper, C.S.; Allison, G.S.; Marisiddaiah, R.; Rubin, L.P. Effects of the Macular Carotenoid Lutein in Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells. Antioxidants 2017, 6, 100.

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