Temperature-dependent response of retinal pigment epithelial cells to laser irradiation

Ralf Brinkmann, Hisashi Iwami, Joachim Pruessner, Veit Danicke, Yoko Miura


Purpose: Sublethal thermal therapy of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is discussed as a new prophylactic therapy for age-related macular degeneration. However, temperature-dependent RPE cell effects have not been well elucidated. We investigated the biochemical responses of RPE cells following sublethal to lethal thermal laser irradiation. Methods: Porcine RPE cells cultured in a dish (33mm) were heated with a Thulium laser (1.92µm, 1-20W, 10s) over a spot of 3mm. Temperatures during irradiation were measured with thermocouples. Cell viability was examined using annexin-V, ethidium homodimer III and Hoechst 33342 for detecting apoptotic, necrotic and living cell, respectively, by using fluorescence microscopy for localization and flow cytometry for quantification. Secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) for 6h following irradiation on different temperatures was assessed with Elisa assay. In order to examine a protective effect of sublethal hyperthremia, the cells were heated up to 45C 24h prior to the exposure of 2 mM hydroxyl peroxide (H2O2) for 5 h. The involvement of TRPV (Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid)-1 receptor, which is activated with temperatures > 43C, was investigated by adding capsazepin, a TRPV-1 inhibitor, before irradiation. Results: Cell apoptosis and necrosis was observed 24 h after irradiation with a central peak temperature ≥52C. Fluorescence microscopy revealed apoptotic cells around the central necrotic area. VEGF secretion for 6h after irradiation was significantly increased at peak temperatures between 40 and 52C in a temperature dependent manner (max. 110%, p<0.05), whereas the total secretion decreases with temperatures > 52C. Pre-irradiation onto 45C significantly reduced H2O2-induced cell death after 5h compared to non-heated cells (total cell death: 15.6% to 10.2%, necrosis: 6% to 4 %, early apoptosis: 5.1% to 3.6%; p<0.01). These effects were not observed in the existence of capsazepin during laser irradiation. Conclusions: The number of apoptotic and necrotic RPE cells increase at least over 24h following thermal laser irradiation. Sublethal temperatures between 40 and 52C seem to induce various cellular responses as VEGF secretion, which might be related to the protective effect against oxidative stress. Results with capsazepin suggest that TRPV-1 channel activation by hyperthermia is essential to exert this protective effect.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 06.2013
EventARVO Annual Meeting 2012 - Ft. Lauderdale, United States
Duration: 06.05.201210.05.2012


ConferenceARVO Annual Meeting 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityFt. Lauderdale


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