Caffeic acid phenethyl ester to inhibit posterior capsule opacification in rabbits

J Cataract Refract Surg. 1997 Dec;23(10):1572-6. doi: 10.1016/s0886-3350(97)80031-4.


Purpose: To assess whether caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) prevents posterior capsule opacification (PCO) by suppressing the transformation of the lens epithelial cells.

Setting: Departments of Ophthalmology, Chemistry, and Pathology, Turgut Ozal Medical Center, University of Inonu, Malatya, Turkey.

Methods: Twenty pigmented island rabbits having phacoemulsification in their right eyes were randomized into two groups. In group 1, 10 micrograms/ml of CAPE was added to the anterior chamber irrigating solution and a 1% solution of CAPE was injected subconjunctivally for 3 weeks postoperatively. The irrigating solution in Group 2 (control) did not include CAPE. The development of PCO was assessed weekly and its density was graded by slitlamp biomicroscopy. Histologic analysis was performed 3 months after surgery.

Results: Group 1 had clear capsules or minor PCO. Group 2 developed more severe PCO or complete opacification. The difference between the two groups was statistically significant (P = .04).

Conclusion: These preliminary results indicate that CAPE is effective in suppressing PCO in pigmented rabbits and may be beneficial in clinical use in humans because it has no documented harmful effects on normal cells.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anterior Chamber / drug effects
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Caffeic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Cataract / etiology
  • Cataract / pathology
  • Cataract / prevention & control*
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Esters
  • Lens Capsule, Crystalline / drug effects*
  • Lens Capsule, Crystalline / pathology
  • Phacoemulsification / adverse effects
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / pathology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Rabbits
  • Random Allocation


  • Antioxidants
  • Caffeic Acids
  • Esters
  • caffeic acid