Vitamin E inhibits retinal pigment epithelium cell proliferation in vitro

Ophthalmic Res. 1994;26(5):304-9. doi: 10.1159/000267493.


Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells migrating through the damaged retina play an important role in the pathogenesis of proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR). We found that alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) inhibits proliferation of human RPE in culture without exerting cytotoxic effects. Maximal inhibition was achieved with 100 microM alpha-tocopherol. Our result could explain the observation that vitamin E supplements have an adverse effect on light-damaged retina and on the course of retinitis pigmentosa. Since it has been shown that supplemental oral administrations of vitamin E can raise the RPE concentration of alpha-tocopherol well above 100 microM and supplementation is not associated with any clinical relevant adverse effect, we believe that vitamin E could be beneficial in the treatment of PVR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / cytology
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / drug effects*
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology*
  • Vitreoretinopathy, Proliferative / drug therapy


  • Vitamin E