Tocotrienol inhibits proliferation of human Tenon's fibroblasts in vitro: A comparative study with vitamin E forms and mitomycin C

Alexander Meyenberg, David Goldblum, Jean Marc Zingg, Angelo Azzi, Kalanithi Nesaretnam, Monika Kilchenmann, Beatrice E. Frueh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate the potential of the vitamin E compound α-tocotrienol as antifibrotic agent in vitro. Methods: Using human Tenon's capsule fibroblast cultures, the antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects of the different vitamin E forms α-tocopherol, α-tocopheryl acetate, α-tocopheryl succinate and α-tocotrienol were compared with those of mitomycin C. To mimic subconjunctival and regular oral application in vivo, exposure time of serum-stimulated and serum-restimulated fibroblasts (SF and RF, respectively) to vitamin E forms was set at 6 days. Cultures were only exposed for 5 min to mitomycin C due to its known acute toxicity and to mimic the short-time intraoperative administration. Proliferation (expressed as % of control) was determined by DNA content quantification on days 2, 4 and 6, whereas cytotoxicity was assessed by cell morphology and glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) release after 24 h. Results: α-Tocopherol and α-tocopheryl acetate stimulated growth of SF, but not RF. Reduction of fibroblast content by α-tocopheryl succinate was accompanied by increased G6PD release and necrosis. Contrary to α-tocopheryl succinate, 50 μM or repeatedly 20 μM of α-tocotrienol significantly inhibited proliferation without causing cellular toxicity (maximal effect: 46.8%). RF were more sensitive to this effect than SF. Mitomycin C 100-400 μg/ ml showed a stronger antiproliferative effect than α-tocotrienol (maximal effect: 13.8%). Morphologic characteristics of apoptosis were more commonly found under treatment with mitomycin C. Conclusions: Of the vitamin E forms tested, only α-tocotrienol significantly inhibited growth at non-toxic concentrations. In this in vitro study, antiproliferative effects of mitomycin C were stronger than those of α-tocotrienol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1263-1271
Number of pages9
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


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