Crocetin might halt or delay disease progression in age-related macular degeneration. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Crocetin Prevents RPE Cells from Oxidative Stress through Protection of Cellular Metabolic Function and Activation of ERK1/2.
Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Apr 22 ;21(8). Epub 2020 Apr 22. PMID: 32331354
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause for visual impairment in aging populations with limited established therapeutic interventions available. Oxidative stress plays an essential role in the pathogenesis of AMD, damaging the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), which is essential for the function and maintenance of the light-sensing photoreceptors. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of crocetin, one of the main components of Saffron, on an in vitro RPE model of tert-butyl hydroperoxide (TBHP) induced oxidative stress using ARPE19 cells. The effects of crocetin were assessed using lactate de-hydrogenase (LDH) and ATP assays, as well as immunocytochemistry for cell morphology, junctional integrity, and nuclear morphology. The mechanism of crocetin action was determined via assessment of energy production pathways, including mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis in real-time as well as investigation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) activation and distribution. Our results show that crocetin pre-treatment protects ARPE19 cells from TBHP-induced LDH release, intracellular ATP depletion, nuclear condensation, and disturbance of junctional integrity and cytoskeleton. The protective effect of crocetin is mediated via the preservation of energy production pathways and activation of ERK1/2 in the first minutes of TBHP exposure to potentiate survival pathways. The combined data suggest that a natural antioxidant, such as crocetin, represents a promising candidate to prevent oxidative stress in RPE cells and might halt or delay disease progression in AMD.