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Sci Rep. 2016 Jan 14;6:19408. doi: 10.1038/srep19408.

Blueberry Component Pterostilbene Protects Corneal Epithelial Cells from Inflammation via Anti-oxidative Pathway.

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Zhejiang Eye Hospital, School of Optometry and Ophthalmology, Wenzhou Medical University, Wenzhou, China.
Ocular Surface Center, Cullen Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.
Tianjin Eye Hospital, Tianjin Key Lab of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Clinical College of Ophthalmology, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China.


Blueberries have been recognized to possess protective properties from inflammation and various diseases, but not for eye and ocular disorders. This study explores potential benefits of pterostilbene (PS), a natural component of blueberries, in preventing ocular surface inflammation using an in vitro culture model of human corneal epithelial cells (HCECs) exposed to hyperosmotic medium at 450 mOsM. Gene expression was detected by RT-qPCR, and protein production or activity was determined by ELISA, zymography, Western blotting and immunofluorescent staining. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was measured using DCFDA kit. The addition of PS significantly reduced the expression of pro-inflammatory mediators, TNF-α, IL-1 β, IL-6, MMP-2 and MMP-9 in HCECs exposed to hyperosmotic medium. Pre-treatment with PS (5 to 20 μM) suppressed ROS overproduction in a dose-dependent manner. Additionally, PS significantly decreased the levels of oxidative damage biomarkers, malondialdehyde (MDA), 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE), aconitase-2 and 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG). Importantly, PS was found to rebalance homeostasis between oxygenases and anti-oxidative enzymes by decreasing cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2) expression and restoring the activity of antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) and peroxiredoxin-4 (PRDX4) during hyperosmotic stress. Our findings demonstrate that PS protects human cornea from hyperosmolarity-induced inflammation and oxidative stress, suggesting protective effects of PS on dry eye.

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