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Heping Xu, Rosana Penalva, Mei Chen; Nicotine Enhances Oxidative Stress Mediated Retinal Degeneration In The Aging Eye. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2015;56(7 ):2361.
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Cigarette smoking is a major environmental risk factor to age-related macular degeneration. Nicotine is an important chemical component of cigarette. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of nicotine in the development of age-related retinal degeneration.
Adults C57BL/6J mice (6 months old) were divided into four treatment groups: Nicotine (12mg/kg/day); blue light (460 nm, 8h/day); Nicotine + blue light; control (2% saccharine). Retinal lesions were examined at 6 and 12 months after the treatment by fundus imaging, electroretinography (ERG), and Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography (SD-OCT). Eyes were collected at the end of the study for histological and immunological investigations.
Compared to age-matched control animals, Nicotine alone did no induce retinal degeneration. Blue light treatment resulted in patches of retinal damage in 40% of animals, whereas the combination of blue light and nicotine resulted in retinal damage in 100% of mice. ERG analysis revealed significant reduction in a- and b-waves in light-treated and more in nicotine + light treated mice. Retinal lesions were characterized by patches of RPE death and photoreceptor degeneration accompanied by increased microglial activation and subretinal accumulation in these mice.
Although nicotine alone is not toxic to the retina, it enhances blue light induced retinal damage during aging. Nicotine is the main chemical component of the E-cigarette. Our results suggest that smoking E-cigarette may not be as safe as we thought. Further study on the effect of nicotine in oxidative stress mediated damage in the aging eye is necessary.
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