Effects of white light-emitting diode (LED) light exposure with different correlated color temperatures (CCTs) on human lens epithelial cells in culture

Photochem Photobiol. Jul-Aug 2014;90(4):853-9. doi: 10.1111/php.12250. Epub 2014 Feb 25.


Cataract is the major cause for legal blindness in the world. Oxidative stress on the lens epithelial cells (hLECs) is the most important factor in cataract formation. Cumulative light-exposure from widely used light-emitting diodes (LEDs) may pose a potential oxidative threat to the lens epithelium, due to the high-energy blue light component in the white-light emission from diodes. In the interest of perfecting biosafety standards for LED domestic lighting, this study analyzed the photobiological effect of white LED light with different correlated color temperatures (CCTs) on cultured hLECs. The hLECs were cultured and cumulatively exposed to multichromatic white LED light with CCTs of 2954, 5624, and 7378 K. Cell viability of hLECs was measured by Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) assay. DNA damage was determined by alkaline comet assay. Intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, cell cycle, and apoptosis were quantified by flow cytometry. Compared with 2954 and 5624 K LED light, LED light having a CCT of 7378 K caused overproduction of intracellular ROS and severe DNA damage, which triggered G2 /M arrest and apoptosis. These results indicate that white LEDs with a high CCT could cause significant photobiological damage to hLECs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Survival / radiation effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epithelial Cells / radiation effects*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Lens, Crystalline*
  • Light*
  • Lighting / instrumentation*