* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received May 16, 2014
The human retina is constantly affected by light of varying intensity, this being especially true for photoreceptor cells and retinal pigment epithelium. Traditionally, photoinduced damages of the retina are induced by visible light of high intensity in albino rats using the LIRD (light-induced retinal degeneration) model. This model allows study of pathological processes in the retina and the search for retinoprotectors preventing retinal photodamage. In addition, the etiology and mechanisms of retina damage in the LIRD model have much in common with the mechanisms of the development of age-related retinal disorders, in particular, with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). We have studied preventive and therapeutic effects of Visomitin eye drops (based on the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant SkQ1) on albino rat retinas damaged by bright light. In the first series of experiments, rats receiving Visomitin for two weeks prior to illumination demonstrated significantly less expressed atrophic and degenerative changes in the retina compared to animals receiving similar drops with no SkQ1. In the second series, the illuminated rats were treated for two weeks with Visomitin or similar drops without SkQ1. The damaged retinas of the experimental animals were repaired much more effectively than those of the control animals. Therefore, we conclude that Visomitin SkQ1-containing eye drops have pronounced preventive and therapeutic effects on the photodamaged retina and might be recommended as a photoprotector and a pharmaceutical preparation for the treatment of AMD in combination with conventional medicines.
KEY WORDS: retina, photoreceptors, photodamage, SkQ1, Visomitin