Cytoprotective Effects of Natural Highly Bio-Available Vegetable Derivatives on Human-Derived Retinal Cells

Nutrients. 2020 Mar 24;12(3):879. doi: 10.3390/nu12030879.

Abstract

Retinal pigment epithelial cells are crucial for retina maintenance, making their cytoprotection an excellent way to prevent or slow down retinal degeneration. In addition, oxidative stress, inflammation, apoptosis, neovascularization, and/or autophagy are key pathways involved in degenerative mechanisms. Therefore, here we studied the effects of curcumin, lutein, and/or resveratrol on human retinal pigment epithelial cells (ARPE-19). Cells were incubated with individual or combined agent(s) before induction of (a) H2O2-induced oxidative stress, (b) staurosporin-induced apoptosis, (c) CoCl2-induced hypoxia, or (d) a LED-autophagy perturbator. Metabolic activity, cellular survival, caspase 3/7 activity (casp3/7), cell morphology, VEGF levels, and autophagy process were assessed. H2O2 provoked a reduction in cell survival, whereas curcumin reduced metabolic activity which was not associated with cell death. Cell death induced by H2O2 was significantly reduced after pre-treatment with curcumin and lutein, but not resveratrol. Staurosporin increased caspase-3/7 activity (689%) and decreased cell survival by 32%. Curcumin or lutein protected cells from death induced by staurosporin. Curcumin, lutein, and resveratrol were ineffective on the increase of caspase 3/7 induced by staurosporin. Pre-treatment with curcumin or lutein prevented LED-induced blockage of autophagy flux. Basal-VEGF release was significantly reduced by lutein. Therefore, lutein and curcumin showed beneficial protective effects on human-derived retinal cells against several insults.

Keywords: antioxidant; apoptosis; autophagy; damage; lutein; protection curcumin; resveratrol; retina.