Protective Effect of Astaxanthin on Blue Light Light-Emitting Diode-Induced Retinal Cell Damage via Free Radical Scavenging and Activation of PI3K/Akt/Nrf2 Pathway in 661W Cell Model.
Mar Drugs. 2020 Jul 25 ;18(8). Epub 2020 Jul 25. PMID: 32722441
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are widely used and energy-efficient light sources in modern life that emit higher levels of short-wavelength blue light. Excessive blue light exposure may damage the photoreceptor cells in our eyes. Astaxanthin, a xanthophyll that is abundantly available in seafood, is a potent free radical scavenger and anti-inflammatory agent. We used a 661W photoreceptor cell line to investigate the protective effect of astaxanthin on blue light LED-induced retinal injury. The cells were treated with various concentrations of astaxanthin and then exposed to blue light LED. Our results showed that pretreatment with astaxanthin inhibited blue light LED-induced cell apoptosis and prevented cell death. Moreover, the protective effect was concentration dependent. Astaxanthin suppressed the production of reactive oxygen species and oxidative stress biomarkers and diminished mitochondrial damage induced by blue light exposure. Western blot analysis confirmed that astaxanthin activated the PI3K/Akt pathway, induced the nuclear translocation of Nrf2, and increased the expression of phase II antioxidant enzymes. The expression of antioxidant enzymes and the suppression of apoptosis-related proteins eventually protected the 661W cells against blue light LED-induced cell damage. Thus, our results demonstrated that astaxanthin exerted a dose-dependent protective effect on photoreceptor cells against damage mediated by blue light LED exposure.