Protection by vitamin D against high-glucose-induced damage in retinal pigment epithelial cells

Ali Mohammad Tohari, Mohammad Almarhoun, Reem Hasaballah Alhasani, Lincoln Biswas, Xinzhi Zhou, James Reilly, Zhihong Zeng*, Xinhua Shu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
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Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a diabetes-associated complication characterized by irreversible deterioration of the microvessels within the retina, leading subsequently to severe retinal damage and vision loss. Vitamin D (VITD), a steroid hormone, plays multiple physiological functions in cellular homeostasis. Deficiency of VITD has been suggested to be associated with DR. To study the potential protective function of VITD in DR, high-glucose-treated ARPE-19 cells and STZ-induced diabetic mice were used as in vitro and in vivo models. The protective effects of VITD were assessed based on the changes of expression of antioxidant enzymes and cytokines in high-glucose-treated RPE cells and in the retina and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) of diabetic and VITD-treated diabetic mice. The present study demonstrated that exposure to a high level of glucose caused upregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines and a decrease in anti-oxidant enzyme expression in both in vitro and in vivo models. VITD treatment increased cell viability, reduced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and caspase-3/7 activities in high-glucose-treated RPE cells. Our data suggest that VITD can protect the retina and RPE from high-glucose-induced oxidative damage and inflammation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112023
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number1
Early online date20 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • diabetic retinopathy
  • vitamin D
  • oxidative stress
  • inflammation
  • protection


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