Aloe vera extract activity on human corneal cells

Pharm Biol. 2012 Feb;50(2):147-54. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2011.579980.


Context: Ocular diseases are currently an important problem in modern societies. Patients suffer from various ophthalmologic ailments namely, conjunctivitis, dry eye, dacryocystitis or degenerative diseases. Therefore, there is a need to introduce new treatment methods, including medicinal plants usage. Aloe vera [Aloe barbadensis Miller (Liliaceae)] possesses wound-healing properties and shows immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory or antioxidant activities.

Materials and methods: NR uptake, MTT, DPPH• reduction, Griess reaction, ELISA and rhodamine-phalloidin staining were used to test toxicity, antiproliferative activity, reactive oxygen species (ROS) reduction, nitric oxide (NO) and cytokine level, and distribution of F-actin in cells, respectively.

Aim: The present study analyzes the effect of Aloe vera extracts obtained with different solvents on in vitro culture of human 10.014 pRSV-T corneal cells.

Results: We found no toxicity of ethanol, ethyl acetate and heptane extracts of Aloe vera on human corneal cells. No ROS reducing activity by heptane extract and trace action by ethanol (only at high concentration 125 µg/ml) extract of Aloe vera was observed. Only ethyl acetate extract expressed distinct free radical scavenging effect. Plant extracts decreased NO production by human corneal cells as compared to untreated controls. The cytokine (IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and IL-10) production decreased after the addition of Aloe vera extracts to the culture media.

Discussion and conclusions: Aloe vera contains multiple pharmacologically active substances which are capable of modulating cellular phenotypes and functions. Aloe vera ethanol and ethyl acetate extracts may be used in eye drops to treat inflammations and other ailments of external parts of the eye such as the cornea.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / drug effects
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Aloe / chemistry*
  • Cell Line
  • Cornea / cytology
  • Cornea / drug effects*
  • Cornea / metabolism
  • Cytokines / drug effects
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Free Radical Scavengers / administration & dosage
  • Free Radical Scavengers / isolation & purification
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Solvents / chemistry
  • Toxicity Tests


  • Actins
  • Cytokines
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Solvents
  • Nitric Oxide