1 Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet3 unknown4 Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet5 Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet
PURPOSE: To investigate the effects of inflammatory factors and oxidative stress on cell survival of the human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cell line, ARPE-19. METHODS: Confluent RPE cells were treated with peripheral blood mononuclear cells-conditioned medium (PCM), H2O2, NaIO3, interferon (IFN)-γ, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, or combinations of these. Cell viability was determined by viability assays and by light microscopy. Effector molecules of cell death were investigated by immunofluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. Microarrays were performed to screen for differential expression of anti-oxidative enzymes, and protein expression was validated by immunoblotting. RESULTS: Viability of RPE cells was reduced by exposure to inflammatory agents (PCM, IFNγ+/-TNFα) or to oxidative agents (H2O2 or NaIO3). Unexpectedly, cells treated with either H2O2 or NaIO3 were partially protected from cell death by the addition of PCM. This protection was conferred, at least in part, by IFNγ and TNFα. Cell death induced by H2O2 or NaIO3 was preceded by mitochondrial dysfunction and by p62 upregulation, both of which were attenuated by PCM and/or by IFNγ+TNFα. RPE cells co-cultured with activated T cells, or treated with cytokines showed increased expression of anti-oxidative genes, with upregulation of superoxide dismutase 2 protein following PCM treatment. CONCLUSION: Oxidative stress-induced cell death was reduced by concomitant inflammatory stress. This is likely due to the cytokine-mediated induction of the anti-oxidative stress response, upregulating protective anti-oxidant pathway(s). These findings suggest caution for the clinical use of anti-inflammatory agents in the management of immune-associated eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.