Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007 Jan;48(1):455-63.

Cytotoxic effect of spermine on retinal pigment epithelial cells.

Author information

  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Kansai Medical University, Osaka, Japan.



A prior study showed inactivation of ornithine-delta-aminotransferase (OAT)-deficient human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells by a specific irreversible inhibitor (5-fluoromethylornithine; 5-FMO) leading to cell death, in an in vitro model of gyrate atrophy (GA) of the choroid and retina. In the present study, the cytotoxicity of metabolites of ornithine, especially spermine, in RPE cells was investigated, to clarify the mechanism of ornithine cytotoxicity in RPE cells.


RPE cells were incubated with ornithine or compounds involved in ornithine metabolic pathways. The effects on RPE cell viability and proliferative activity were evaluated using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) colorimetric and [(3)H]thymidine incorporation assays. Incorporation of spermine into RPE cells was examined by using [(14)C]spermine and dansyl-spermine. To assess spermine-induced RPE cell death, cells were double stained with annexin V and propidium iodide and subjected to flow cytometry.


Ornithine, arginine, glutamate, proline, creatine, glycine, and putrescine exhibited no effects on the viability and proliferative activities of RPE cells, whereas spermidine and spermine (10 mM) inhibited [(3)H]thymidine incorporation by 13% and 89%, respectively. The inhibition of [(3)H]thymidine incorporation by spermine was dose dependent and was observed as early as 4 hours after addition. Further, spermine was incorporated and accumulated in the perinuclear region of RPE cells. Apoptotic RPE cell death was induced by spermine in a dose-dependent manner.


The present results demonstrated that excessive spermine is cytotoxic to RPE cells and suggest that metabolites of ornithine, especially spermine, may be involved in the mechanism of RPE degeneration in GA.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
    Loading ...
    Support Center