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BMC Ophthalmol. 2003 Mar 21;3:5.

Oxidative stress causes ERK phosphorylation and cell death in cultured retinal pigment epithelium: prevention of cell death by AG126 and 15-deoxy-delta 12, 14-PGJ2.

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Departments of Anatomy & Neurobiology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.



The retina, which is exposed to both sunlight and very high levels of oxygen, is exceptionally rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which makes it a favorable environment for the generation of reactive oxygen species. The cytotoxic effects of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) induced oxidative stress on retinal pigment epithelium were characterized in this study.


The MTT cell viability assay, Texas-Red phalloidin staining, immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis were used to assess the effects of oxidative stress on primary human retinal pigment epithelial cell cultures and the ARPE-19 cell line.


The treatment of retinal pigment epithelial cells with H2O2 caused a dose-dependent decrease of cellular viability, which was preceded by a significant cytoskeletal rearrangement, activation of the Extracellular signal-Regulated Kinase, lipid peroxidation and nuclear condensation. This cell death was prevented partially by the prostaglandin derivative, 15d-PGJ2 and by the protein kinase inhibitor, AG126.


15d-PGJ2 and AG126 may be useful pharmacological tools in the future capable of preventing oxidative stress induced RPE cell death in human ocular diseases.

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