Light filtering in a retinal pigment epithelial cell culture model

Optom Vis Sci. 2011 Jun;88(6):759-65. doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e3182158cdd.


Purpose: We tested for protection of blue light-exposed A2E-containing retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) from damage through the implementation of polycarbonate filters containing varying levels of a pigment that absorbs short wavelength light.

Methods: Human adult RPE cells (ARPE-19) that had accumulated synthesized A2E were exposed to either a light line delivered from a tungsten halogen source (430 ± 20 nm; 8 mW/cm) or to the entire area of a 35 mm dish (1 mW/cm). Blue-light absorbing polycarbonate filters (2.5 × 4 cm) containing varying levels of short-wavelength light absorbing pigment (1.0, 1.9, 3.8, 7.5, 15, and 35 ppm) or no dye (PC) were placed in the light path. Cytotoxicity was measured by the 4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) colorimetric microtiter assay (Roche Diagnostics Corporation, Indianapolis, IN) or by fluorescent staining of non-viable cells.

Results: When filters containing blue-light absorbing dye were placed in the light path, protection of 430 nm irradiated A2E-laden RPE was observed. The extent of protection was dependent on the concentration of the dye. By MTT assay and fluorescence labeling, statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) between irradiation in the absence of a filter and irradiation in the presence of a filter were observed.

Conclusions: The series of filters tested in this work provided protection against blue light damage in a culture model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Colorimetry
  • Coloring Agents
  • Filtration*
  • Humans
  • Light*
  • Polycarboxylate Cement
  • Radiation Injuries / prevention & control
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium / cytology
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium / radiation effects*
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles


  • Coloring Agents
  • Polycarboxylate Cement
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles
  • polycarbonate
  • thiazolyl blue