Stress oxydatif et toxicité moléculaire causés par les rayons ultraviolets A dans la cornée et par la lumière visible à haute énergie (bleue) dans les cellules de l'épithélium pigmenté rétinien

Authors: Zinflou, Corinne
Advisor: Rochette, Patrick J.
Abstract: The eye, a complex organ, faces the ambient electromagnetic spectrum on a daily basis. Its unique sensory functions require the specific delivery of light, a small portion of that spectrum, to the retina, the inside lining of eye fundus. To achieve such specificity, the optical path is made up of different tissues, each showing a remarkable ability to absorb or transmit precise wavelengths. However, high energy wavelengths absorption is associated with a risk of toxicity, which might threaten the integrity of absorbing tissues. This is particularly true for ultraviolet B or UVB (most energetic naturally occurring radiation that reach the ocular surface). UVB deleterious effects have been documented and mainly arise from direct photochemical processes. There is now a growing consensus that UVA and high energy visible blue light (HEV), the wavelengths adjacent to UVB in the spectrum, hold a significant potential for ocular toxicity. However, the basis for such toxicity is poorly understood. UVA rays are absorbed by the cornea and the lens, while HEV light is absorbed by the retina. Both spectral regions are characterized by a strong ability to promote oxidative stress in target tissues through indirect oxygen-dependent processes that rely on the presence of specific photosensitizers in tissues. Several data show that oxidative stress correlates with the toxic effects induced by eye exposure to UVA or HEV light, but the molecular events underlying such correlation remain to be clarified. The overall goal of the work presented in this thesis was therefore to identify key oxidation-related determinants of UVA and HEV light toxicity for ocular tissues. Even if the lens absorbs the majority of UVA rays reaching the ocular surface, the cornea also filters out a significant part of these wavelengths, and there is very little information on the repercussion for the cornea. In the first section of my thesis, we thus sought to determine the early consequences of cornea exposure to UVA. Using UVA-irradiated rabbit eyes as a model, we confirmed the induction of numerous oxidation reactions through corneal entire thickness. We reported oxidatively generated molecular changes occurring in the cornea very shortly after exposure and we described their distribution within the three corneal cellular layers (epithelium, stroma and endothelium). We provide evidence that in corneal native conformation, damage susceptibility and responsiveness to UVA-induced oxidation vary from one layer to another. For example, while corneal epithelial cells are subjected to important modifications in response to UVA exposure, they efficiently limit the early manifestations of UVA-induced toxicity by using compensatory mechanisms. On the other hand, the endothelium, the posterior portion of the cornea, is more susceptible to UVA-induced immediate toxicity. Oxidation resulting from extended exposure of the cornea to UVA is therefore expected to pose a hazard to corneal endothelium integrity. The second section of my thesis aimed to define cellular mechanisms involved in HEV light toxic action. Available data in the literature show that HEV light ocular toxicity primarily affects retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and relies on the age-related accumulation of endogenous photosensitizers in RPE cells. However, we have identified an exogenous HEV light photosensitizer, indenopyrene (IcdP), an important tobacco smoke derived polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, which may accumulate in RPE. Using IcdP and/or HEV light-exposed human RPE cells as a model, we highlighted a toxic synergy between IcdP and HEV light. IcdP is at least 3000 times more toxic for RPE cells when irradiated with sub-lethal amounts of HEV light. It then promotes degenerative changes comparable to those observable in age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of irreversible vision loss among elderly people). These changes include oxidative stress, structural defects and apoptotic cell death. A study of the molecular processes underlying this synergy reveals that IcdP HEV light interaction results in loss of the tight coupling required between the two metabolic phases ensuring IcdP efficient detoxification in RPE. Such loss seems to precipitate cell deterioration. Our work raises the prospect that HEV light toxicity for RPE is significantly modulated, among other things, by lifestyle and environmental pollution. This thesis, addressing UVA and HEV light ocular toxicity from a new perspective, proves that their harmful nature in ocular tissues is largely underestimated
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2021
Open Access Date: 25 October 2021
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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