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J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2017 Oct;33(8):610-619. doi: 10.1089/jop.2016.0129.

Protective Effects of Memantine on Hydroquinone-Treated Human Retinal Pigment Epithelium Cells and Human Retinal Müller Cells.

Author information

1 Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, University of California, Irvine , Irvine, California.
2 Ophthalmology Department, Minia University , Minia, Egypt .
3 Division of Ocular Biology and Therapeutics, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology , London, United Kingdom .



Memantine (MEM) acts on the glutamatergic system by blocking N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptors. The role that MEM plays in protecting retinal cells is unknown. Hydroquinone (HQ) is one of the cytotoxic components in cigarette smoke. In the present study, we tested whether pretreatment with MEM could protect against the cytotoxic effects of HQ on human retinal pigment epithelium cells (ARPE-19) and human retinal Müller cells (MIO-M1) in vitro.


Cells were plated, pretreated for 6 h with 30 μM of MEM, and then exposed for 24 h to 200, 100, 50, and 25 μM of HQ while MEM was still present. Cell viability (CV), reactive oxygen species (ROS), mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release assays were performed.


HQ-treated cells showed a dose-dependent decrease in CV and ΔΨm, but an increase in ROS production and LDH levels in both cell lines. MEM pretreatment reversed the CV in 50, 100, and 200 μM doses in ARPE-19 cells and at all HQ concentrations in MIO-M1 cells compared to HQ-treated cultures. ROS production was reversed in all HQ concentrations in both cell lines. ΔΨm was significantly increased after MEM pretreatment only in 50 μM HQ concentration for both cell lines. LDH levels were decreased at 50 and 25 μM HQ in ARPE-19 and MIO-M1 cells, respectively.


HQ-induced toxicity is concentration dependent in ARPE-19 and MIO-M1 cultures. MEM exerts protective effects against HQ-induced toxicity on human retinal pigment epithelial and Müller cells in vitro.


hydroquinone; memantine; retinal cells

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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