Antifibrotic effects of tocotrienols on human Tenon's fibroblasts

Christoph Tappeiner, Alexander Meyenberg, David Goldblum, Daniel Mojon, Jean Marc Zingg, Kalanithi Nesaretnam, Monika Kilchenmann, Beatrice E. Frueh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: To compare the antifibrotic effect of vitamin E isoforms α-, γ-, and δ-tocotrienol on human Tenon's fibroblasts (hTf) to the antimetabolite mitomycin C. Methods: Antifibrotic effects of α- (40, 60, 80, 100, and 120 μM), γ- (10, 20, 30, and 40 μM) and δ-tocotrienol (10, 20, 30, and 40 μM) on hTf cultures were evaluated by performing proliferation, migration and collagen synthesis assays. Whereas for vitamin E the exposure time was set to 7 days to mimic subconjunctival application, cultures were exposed only 5 min to mitomycin C 100 μg/ml to mimic intraoperative administration. Cell morphology (phase contrast microscopy) as an assessment for cytotoxicity and cell density by measuring DNA content in a fluorometric assay to determine proliferation inhibition was performed on day 0, 4, and 7. Migration ability and collagen synthesis of fibroblasts were measured. Results: All tested tocotrienol isoforms were able to significantly inhibit hTf proliferation in a dose-dependent manner (maximal inhibitory effect without relevant morphological changes at day 4 for α-tocotrienol 80 μM with 36.7% and at day 7 for α-tocotrienol 80 μM with 42.6% compared to control). Degenerative cell changes were observed in cultures with concentrations above 80 μM for α- and above 30 μM for γ- and δ-tocotrienol. The highest collagen synthesis inhibition has been found with 80 μM α-tocotrienol (62.4%) and no significant inhibition for mitomycin C (2.5%). Migration ability was significantly reduced in cultures exposed to 80 μM α- and 30 μM γ-tocotrienol (inhibition of 82.2% and 79.5%, respectively, compared to control) and also after mitomycin C treatment (60.0%). Complete growth inhibition without significant degenerative cell changes could only be achieved with mitomycin C. Conclusion: In vitro, all tested tocotrienol isoforms were able to inhibit proliferation, migration and collagen synthesis of human Tenon's fibroblasts and therefore may have the potential as an anti-scarring agent in filtrating glaucoma surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-71
Number of pages7
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Antifibrotic effect
  • Filtrating glaucoma surgery
  • Mitomycin C
  • Tenon's fibroblast
  • Tocotrienol
  • Vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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