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J Photochem Photobiol B. 2003 Oct 15;71(1-3):59-68.

Antioxidant protection in cultured corneal cells and whole corneas submitted to UV-B exposure.

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  • 1Department of Preclinical and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Florence, V.le Pieraccini 6, Florence 50139, Italy.


Several corneal pathologies are characterized by the presence of reactive oxygen species (ROS); therefore, we evaluated the protection afforded by pirenoxine and melatonin to corneal cell culture and whole rabbit cornea from ultraviolet exposure and other oxidant systems. Rabbit cornea cell (SIRC) plates and whole corneas were exposed to UV-B (80 or 800 mJ/cm2) or incubated with fMLP-stimulated autologous macrophages, in the presence or absence of pirenoxine or melatonin (10(-5) M). The protective activity of compounds was assessed by measuring superoxide anion formation, inhibition of oxidation and mitochondrial viability. Moreover the ex vivo protective effect of pirenoxine and melatonin was verified in the whole cornea submitted to UV-B exposure in vitro. Our experimental data demonstrate that pirenoxine and melatonin were able to inhibit the superoxide formation and oxidative effect in cell culture and whole rabbit corneas submitted to UV-B exposure or to incubation with fMLP-stimulated autologous macrophages. Mitochondrial viability was restored in epithelial cells of rabbit cornea but not in SIRCs. Moreover, both compounds are also able to increase ex vivo epithelial corneal cell defences against the in vitro UV-B induced lipid peroxidation.

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