glutamate uptake

/Tag:glutamate uptake

Mechanism of Tamoxifen’s Retinal Toxicity, Studied in Pig Pigment Epithelial Cell Cultures

Hanna Mäenpää, Tarja Toimela, Pirjo Saransaari, Lotta Salminen
and Hanna Tähti

The anticancer drug tamoxifen is widely used in breast cancer therapy. Tamoxifen has been reported to cause ocular toxicity and impairment of vision in epidemiological studies. To study the possible role of an excitotoxic mechanism in the ocular toxicity of tamoxifen, we investigated the effect of tamoxifen on retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) glutamate uptake in vitro. RPE, a layer of cells between photoreceptors and choroidal capillaries, contributes to the regulation of the concentration of the major excitatory amino acid, glutamate, in the subretinal space. Dysfunction in RPE glutamate uptake can lead to accumulation of extracellular glutamate and can cause various excitotoxic effects in the retina. The study was conducted by using cultured pig RPE cells. Six different tamoxifen citrate concentrations, ranging from 1μM to 100μM, and [3H]-L-glutamate were added to the culture medium. To specify the glutamate uptake, 1mM dinitrophenol was added and a Na+-free culture was used. Due to the anti-oestrogenic character of tamoxifen, the possible effect of β-oestradiol on the glutamate uptake of RPE was also examined. The results show that glutamate uptake by RPE cells was reduced in the presence of tamoxifen, and that the reduction was dose-dependent. These results suggest that tamoxifen exposure could lead to the extracellular accumulation of glutamate. Disturbances in glutamate uptake can cause eye toxicity via an excitotoxic mechanism. The glutamate uptake of RPE cells was reduced under Na+-free conditions and was also reduced in the presence of dinitrophenol.
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Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cell Cultures as a Tool for Evaluating Retinal Toxicity In Vitro

Hanna Tähti, Hanna Mäenpää, Lotta Salminen and Tarja Toimela

This article reviews in vitro testing of retinal toxicity in retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cell cultures. It is based on the literature on RPE cell cultures and on our recent studies on the retinal toxicity of selected amphiphilic drugs. The RPE plays a major role in maintaining the homeostasis and health of the retina. Various pharmacological agents are known to cause adverse effects in RPE cells. For example, long-term treatment with chloroquine in patients with rheumatoid arthritis has induced retinopathy, and tamoxifen, a drug that is commonly used in the treatment of advanced breast cancer and in the prevention of breast cancer among high-risk women, has been reported to cause retinal changes and impaired vision. During our research, we have developed novel in vitro methods for evaluating the retinal toxicity of xenobiotics. We have used a pig RPE primary culture and a human RPE cell line (D407), which retain epithelial cell characteristics. They form a layer of hexagonal cells with intercellular junctions, and possess a keratin-containing cytoskeleton. They are both good models for determining the retinal cell toxicity of test compounds. Further studies on phagocytic activity, lysosomal enzyme activity and glutamate uptake might generate new methods for the toxicological evaluation of the retinal side-effects of drugs in vitro.
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