The aim of this study was to investigate the protective effects and mechanisms of hesperidin, a plant based active flavanone found in citrus fruits, under the oxidative stress and apoptosis induced by high levels of glucose in retinal ganglial cells (RGCs). RGC-5 cells were pretreated with hesperidin (12.5, 25, or 50 μmol/L) for 6 h followed by exposure to high (33.3 mmol/L) d
-glucose for 48 h. The 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay was adopted to evaluate cell viability. Mitochondrial function was estimated by measuring the mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm). A fluorescent probe was employed to evaluate the intercellular production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Colorimetric assay kits were used to evaluate lipid peroxidation, antioxidant enzyme activities, and protein carbonyls formation. The expression of apoptosis-related proteins and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) were measured with Western blotting. Hesperidin inhibited high glucose-mediated cell loss and restored mitochondrial function including a reversion of ΔΨm loss and cytochrome c release. Treated with hesperidin, high glucose-induced increase in ROS, malondialdehyde, and protein carbonyl levels were blocked in RGC-5 cells. Hesperidin was found to elevate the activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and to recover glutathione levels. Hesperidin inhibited high glucose-induced cell apoptosis by attenuating the downregulation of caspase-9, caspase-3, and Bax/Bcl-2. Furthermore, the phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK) and p38 MAPK triggered by high glucose were attenuated in RGC-5 cells after their incubation with hesperdin. We concluded that hesperidin may protect RGC-5 cells from high glucose-induced injury since it owns the properties of antioxidant action and blocks mitochondria-mediated apoptosis.
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