Enhanced prostaglandin synthesis after ultraviolet-B exposure modulates DNA synthesis of lens epithelial cells and lowers intraocular pressure in vivo

U. P. Andley, B. Becker, J. S. Hebert, J. R. Reddan, A. R. Morrison, A. P. Pentland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Purpose. To study the functional significance of prostaglandin synthesis after ultraviolet-B (UVB) exposure of cultured human lens epithelial cells and rabbit eyes in vivo. Methods. Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) was assayed using a radioimmunoassay (RIA) and mass spectroscopy. An immortalized human lens epithelial cell line (HLE-B3) was exposed to UV irradiation, and the synthesis of PGE2 was compared with the rabbit lens epithelial cell line N/N1003A. Intact human lenses were exposed to UVB in organ culture. [3H]Thymidine incorporation was measured in cultured less epithelial cells by incubation with the radiolabel. The effects of isobutyl methyl xanthine (IBMX), an inhibitor of phosphodiesterase and of dibutyryl cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), an analog of cAMP, on PGE2 synthesis and DNA synthesis, were determined. Rabbit eyes were exposed to UVB radiation in vivo. Intraocular pressure was measured at specific times after exposure. Aqueous humor was removed from rabbit eyes, and its PGE2 content was measured by RIA. Results. Cultured human lens epithelial cells (HLE), like rabbit lens epithelial cells (RLE), showed a dose-dependent increase in basal PGE2 synthesis 24 hours after UVB exposure. However, the amount of PGE2 synthesis was 2000-fold higher in the rabbit cells. Ultraviolet-B radiation enhanced the incorporation of [3H]thymidine in lens epithelial cells. Pretreatment of cells with indomethacin reduced PGE2 synthesis and [3H] thymidine incorporation. The human and rabbit cells responded in a similar manner to changes in DNA synthesis after UVB exposure. The addition of IBMX or dbcAMP to indomethacin-treated. UVB-exposed cells restored DNA synthesis toward the levels observed in the UVB-exposed cells. An increase in the concentration of cAMP was observed in lens epithelial cells exposed to exogenous PGE2. PGE2 synthesis in intact human lenses also increased twofold 24 hours after UVB exposure. Exposure of the rabbit eye in vivo to an optimal dose of UVB produced an increase in the PGE2 levels of the lens and the aqueous humor. Measurements of the intraocular pressure (IOP) of the animals showed a decrease in IOP by 2.21 ± 0.66 and 6.45 ≠ 0.79 mm Hg (mean ± SEM, P = 0.004, t-test) at 6 and 24 hours after UVB exposure, respectively. The decrease in IOP was prevented by pretreatment with indomethacin. Exposure of the rabbit lens to UVB radiation in vivo enhanced [3H]thymidine incorporation twofold into the lens. Pretreatment of rabbits with indomethacin before exposure reduced this response. Conclusions. Results indicate that UVB exposure enhances PGE2 synthesis in HLE cultures as well as in rabbit lenses irradiated in vivo. This increased PGE2 synthesis is related to the increase in DNA synthesis observed after UVB treatment. The modulation of DNA synthesis in cultured lens epithelial cells after UVB exposure may be mediated by a cAMP-dependent mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-153
Number of pages12
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1996


  • DNA synthesis
  • cyclic adenosine monophosphate
  • human lens
  • intraocular pressure
  • lens epithelial cells
  • rabbit eyes


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