[Vitamins C and E protect cultures of bovine lens epithelium from the damaging effects of blue light (430 nm) and UVA light (300-400 nm)]

Klin Monbl Augenheilkd. 2001 Feb;218(2):116-20. doi: 10.1055/s-2001-12255.
[Article in German]


Background: In 1992 Radlmaier showed that catalase can protect bovine lens epithelial cultures from blue light. The following experiments have the aim to examine, if vitamin C and E have protective functions, also.

Material and methods: 367 cultures of bovine lens epithelial cells were incubated in Medium 199 added by 20% foetal calf serum FCS, by 125 I.U./ml penicillin, by 125 mg/ml Streptomycin, by 0.31 microgram/ml amphotericin B, by 2% L-Glutamin (200 mM), and by 1.25% Hepesbuffer. The incubation temperature was kept at 36 degrees C at a pCO2 of 5%. In order to avoid secondary morphologic alterations, we experimented only on the second to the third subculture. Light exposure followed three days after addition of the substances such as Cebion 500 (R) ad injection (6 mg/dl) and E-Vicotrat (R) ad injection (0.5 mg/dl). The blue light (420-430 nm, Draeger) was applied in a baby bed at 36 degrees C for four hours (1.1 mW/cm). The UV-A lamp was constructed and described by Heller [7]; at a wave length of 300-400 nm, the irradiation time was 10 minutes at 100 mW/cm2. In morphologic evaluation we looked for criteria such as cell diameter, cellular wall alterations, cellular inclusions and vacuoles. The cell count was done after staining with the vital dye trypan-blue in Neubauer's chamber. In statistic evaluation we used the pair comparison of Tuckey and Kruskall-Wallis-Test.

Results: After addition of 0.5 mg/ml vitamin E: In 89 cultures, morphologic evaluation and cell count showed a significant protection against light toxicity: After Uv-A-irradiation we counted 50% more living cells and after blue light 30% more. After addition of 6 mg/ml Cebion vitamin C: Morphologic evaluation and cell count of 223 cultures showed them also to be significantly protected: after irradiation by UV-A we counted 25% more and after exposition to blue light 15% more living cells.

Conclusion: The demonstrated experiments significantly showed, that vitamin C and vitamin E can protect lens epithelial cultures from toxic stress by blue and by UV-A light and might delay cataract formation in man.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Cataract / prevention & control
  • Cattle
  • Cell Count
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epithelial Cells / radiation effects
  • Lens, Crystalline / cytology
  • Lens, Crystalline / radiation effects*
  • Light / adverse effects*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin E
  • Ascorbic Acid