Ultraviolet radiation, especially UVA, can penetrate the lens, reach the retina, and induce oxidative stress to retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. Even though it is weakly absorbed by protein and DNA, it may trigger the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and generate oxidative injury; oxidative injury to the retinal pigment epithelium has been implicated to play a contributory role in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Studies showed that resveratrol, an abundant and active component of red grapes, can protect several cell types from oxidative stress. In this study, adult RPE cells being treated with different concentrations of resveratrol were used to evaluate the protective effect of resveratrol on RPE cells against UVA-induced damage. Cell viability assay showed that resveratrol reduced the UVA-induced decrease in RPE cell viability. Through flow cytometry analysis, we found that the generation of intracellular H2
induced by UVA irradiation in RPE cells could be suppressed by resveratrol in a concentration-dependent manner. Results of Western blot analysis demonstrated that resveratrol lowered the activation of UVA-induced extracellular signal-regulated kinase, c-jun-NH2
terminal kinase and p38 kinase in RPE cells. In addition, there was also a reduction in UVA-induced cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression in RPE cells pretreated with resveratrol. Our observations suggest that resveratrol is effective in preventing RPE cells from being damaged by UVA radiation, and is worth considering for further development as a chemoprotective agent for the prevention of early AMD.
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