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J Cell Mol Med. 2017 Dec;21(12):3453-3466. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.13255. Epub 2017 Jun 29.

Effects of white light-emitting diode (LED) exposure on retinal pigment epithelium in vivo.

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INSERM U1138, Centre de Recherches des Cordeliers, Université Paris Descartes, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France.
ENVA, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d'Alfort. Unité d'ophtalmologie, Maisons-Alfort, France.
Division Eclairage et électromagnétisme, CSTB, Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment, Saint Martin d'Hères, France.


Ageing and alteration of the functions of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) are at the origin of lost of vision seen in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The RPE is known to be vulnerable to high-energy blue light. The white light-emitting diodes (LED) commercially available have relatively high content of blue light, a feature that suggest that they could be deleterious for this retinal cell layer. The aim of our study was to investigate the effects of "white LED" exposure on RPE. For this, commercially available white LEDs were used for exposure experiments on Wistar rats. Immunohistochemical stain on RPE flat mount, transmission electron microscopy and Western blot were used to exam the RPE. LED-induced RPE damage was evaluated by studying oxidative stress, stress response pathways and cell death pathways as well as the integrity of the outer blood-retinal barrier (BRB). We show that white LED light caused structural alterations leading to the disruption of the outer blood-retinal barrier. We observed an increase in oxidized molecules, disturbance of basal autophagy and cell death by necrosis. We conclude that white LEDs induced strong damages in rat RPE characterized by the breakdown of the BRB and the induction of necrotic cell death.


blood-retinal barrier; blue light; light-emitting diode; necrosis; oxidative stress; retinal pigment epithelium degeneration

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