The effects of vital dyes on retinal pigment epithelium cells in oxidative stress

Shani Golan*, Ran Levi, Michal Entin-Meer, Adiel Barak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To determine the effect of the most commonly used vital dyes in vitrectomy [trypan blue at 0.15% concentration and indocyanine green (ICG) at 0.5% concentration] on the viability of human retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cell lines (ARPE-19) exposed to oxidative stress.

Methods: ARPE-19 cells unexposed or exposed to oxidative stress (hypoxic chamber) were treated for 1 min with one of the dyes. RPE proliferation was measured by 3 H-thymidine incorporation, adhesion by ability to adhere to fibronectin, and safety by annexin V staining.

Conclusions: In hypoxic conditions, both dyes showed an inhibition of RPE adhesion to fibronectin and proliferation capacity and an increase in early apoptosis compared with non-hypoxic conditions. Apoptosis was greater in ICG-treated RPE cells than in trypan blue-treated cells.

Results: Proliferation: The dyes affected the proliferation of RPE cells differently under non-hypoxic and hypoxic conditions (p = 0.001). In non-hypoxic conditions, there was no statistically significant difference between the proliferation of the treated (both dyes) and untreated RPE cells (p = 0.279). Under hypoxia, both dyes significantly suppressed proliferation, more so with ICG (p = 0.001). Adhesion: The dyes affected adhesion differently under non-hypoxic and hypoxic conditions (p = 0.04). In nonhypoxic conditions, both increased the adhesive properties of RPE cells to fibronectin, ICG more than trypan blue (p = 0.001). Under hypoxia, both dyes suppressed adhesion, with no statistically significant difference between treated and non-treated RPE cells. Apoptosis: Both dyes increased early apoptosis of RPE cells compared with no treatment (p = 0.001), ICG more than trypan blue. Hypoxia increased the apoptosis of both dyes compared to non-hypoxic conditions (p = 0.02).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-150
Number of pages4
JournalOphthalmic Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 19 Nov 2014


  • Indocyanine green
  • Oxidative stress
  • Retinal pigment epithelium
  • Trypan blue


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