Cytoprotective effect against UV-induced DNA damage and oxidative stress: role of new biological UV filter

Eur J Pharm Sci. 2007 Mar;30(3-4):203-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ejps.2006.11.001. Epub 2006 Nov 9.


The majority of chemical solar filters are cytotoxic, particularly on sensitive ocular cells (corneal and conjunctival cells). Consequently, a non-cytotoxic UV filter would be interesting in dermatology, but more especially in ophthalmology. In fact, light damage to the eye can be avoided thanks to a very efficient ocular antioxidant system; indeed, the chromophores absorb light and dissipate its energy. After middle age, a decrease in the production of antioxidants and antioxidative enzymes appears with accumulation of endogenous molecules that are phototoxic. UV radiations can induce reactive oxygen species formation, leading to various ocular diseases. Because most UV filters are cytotoxic for the eye, we investigated the anti-UV properties of Calophyllum inophyllum oil in order to propose it as a potential vehicle, free of toxicity, with a natural UV filter action in ophthalmic formulation. Calophyllum inophyllum oil, even at low concentration (1/10,000, v/v), exhibited significant UV absorption properties (maximum at 300nm) and was associated with an important sun protection factor (18-22). Oil concentrations up to 1% were not cytotoxic on human conjunctival epithelial cells, and Calophyllum inophyllum oil appeared to act as a cytoprotective agent against oxidative stress and DNA damage (85% of the DNA damage induced by UV radiations were inhibited with 1% Calophyllum oil) and did not induce in vivo ocular irritation (Draize test on New Zealand rabbits). Calophyllum inophyllum oil thus exhibited antioxidant and cytoprotective properties, and therefore might serve, for the first time, as a natural UV filter in ophthalmic preparations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calophyllum / chemistry
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / radiation effects
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Conjunctiva / cytology
  • Conjunctiva / radiation effects
  • DNA Damage*
  • Eye Diseases / chemically induced
  • Eye Diseases / pathology
  • Humans
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Irritants
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology
  • Rabbits
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / toxicity
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet
  • Sunlight
  • Superoxides / metabolism
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Irritants
  • Plant Oils
  • Radiation-Protective Agents
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Superoxides