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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

Inhibitory Effects of Plumbagin on Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cell Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition In Vitro and In Vivo

Haiting Chen, Huifang Wang, Jianbin An, Qingli Shang, Jingxue Ma

Department of Ophthalmology, Second Hospital of Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24: LBR1502-1510

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.906265

Available online: 2018-03-13

Published: 2018-03-13


BACKGROUND: This study aimed to explore the effects of plumbagin (PLB) on epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells and in proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) rabbit models.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Rabbit RPE cells were exposed to various concentrations (0, 5, 15, and 25 µM) of PLB. Motility, migration, and invasion of PLB-treated cells were determined in vitro using Transwell chamber assays and scratch wound assays. The contractile ability was evaluated by cell contraction assay. Expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers were assessed by western blotting. Furthermore, PLB was injected in rabbit eyes along with RPE cells after gas compression of the vitreous. The presence of PVR was determined by indirect ophthalmoscopy on days 1, 7, 14, and 21 after injection. Also, optical coherence tomography (OCT), ultrasound images, electroretinograms (ERG), and histopathology were used to assess efficacy and toxicity.
RESULTS: PLB significantly inhibited the migration and invasion of RPE cells. The agent also markedly reduced cell contractive ability. Furthermore, PLB treatment resulted in the decreased expression of MMP-1, MMP2, α-SMA, and the protection of ZO-1. In addition, the PLB-treated eyes showed lower PVR grades than the untreated eyes in rabbit models. PLB exhibited a wide safety margin, indicating no evidence of causing retinal toxicity.
CONCLUSIONS: PLB effectively inhibited the EMT of rabbit RPE cells in vitro and in the experimental PVR models. The results open new avenues for the use of PLB in prevention and treatment of PVR.

Keywords: Epithelial-mesenchymal transition, Plumbaginaceae, retinal pigment epithelium