Redox Biol. 2022 Jun 3;54:102360. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2022.102360. Online ahead of print.
The eyes are highly susceptible to the oxidative stress induced by ultraviolet B (UVB, wavelength between 280 ∼ 320 nm), which could cause severe damage to the cornea. Fullerenols are effective antioxidants to alleviate UVB-induced injury, while their application for the eyes is still rare. In present study, we investigated the protective performance and mechanism of fullerenols on cornea under UVB radiation in vivo and in vitro. The synthesized fullerenols exhibited broad-spectrum free radical scavenging properties (applicable to both reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS)) and photo-stability. When compared with another widely used antioxidant glutathione (GSH), the administration of fullerenols markedly decreased the injured area, corneal edema, cell death, and increased the cell proliferation in UVB-induced rat cornea. The effects of fullerenols were confirmed in UVB-exposed human corneal epithelial cells (hCECs), where elevated cell viability and proliferation, decreased oxidative free radical production, repaired mitochondrial dysfunction and DNA lesions were observed. RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) analysis demonstrated that fullerenol alleviated UVB-induced corneal injury through down-regulation of oxidative stress-related genes and up-regulation of proliferation-associated genes. Our results demonstrate the suitability of fullerenols as a potential exogenous treatment in ameliorating UVB-induced cornea damage.