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D S Hull, S Csukas, K Green; Chlorpromazine-induced corneal endothelial phototoxicity.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1982;22(4):502-508. doi: https://doi.org/.
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Chlorpromazine, which has been used extensively for the treatment of psychiatric disorders, is known to accumulate in the posterior corneal stroma, lens, and uveal tract. Because it is a phototoxic compound, the potential exists for it to cause cellular damage after light exposure. Specular microscopic perfusion of corneal endothelial cells in darkness with 0.5 mM chlorpromazine HCl resulted in a swelling rate of 18 +/- 2 micrometer/hr, whereas corneas exposed to long-wavelength ultraviolet light for 3 min in the presence of 0.5 mM chlorpromazine swelled at 37 +/- 9 micrometer/hr (p less than 0.01). Preirradiation of 0.5 mM chlorpromazine solution with ultraviolet light for 30 min and subsequent corneal perfusion with the solution resulted in a corneal swelling rate of 45 +/- 19 micrometer/hr. Cornea endothelial cells perfused with 0.5 mM chlorpromazine that was preirradiated with ultraviolet light showed marked swelling on scanning electron microscopic examination, whereas those perfused with nonirradiated chlorpromazine were flat and showed a normal mosaic pattern. Combining either 500 U/ml catalase or 290 U/ml superoxide dismutase with chlorpromazine did not alter photoinduction of corneal swelling. The data suggest that corneal endothelial chlorpromazine phototoxicity is secondary to cytotoxic products resulting from the photodynamically induced decomposition of chlorpromazine and is not caused by hydrogen peroxide or superoxide anion generated during the phototoxic reaction.
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