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Photoprotection of retina cells using liposome-encapsulated plant pigments

Grant number: 19/03134-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): April 30, 2019
Effective date (End): January 29, 2020
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Organic Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Erick Leite Bastos
Grantee:Caroline de Oliveira Machado
Supervisor: Elizabeth Richebourg Gaillard
Host Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Northern Illinois University, DeKalb (NIU), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:15/24760-0 - Effect of antioxidant plant pigments on the viability of cells subjected to oxidative photoinduced stress, BP.DD


Macular degeneration and vitelliform macular dystrophy are eye disorders that compromise the central vision, retinal image sharpening, and color visualization. These diseases have been associated with the accumulation of lipofuscin and its main component N-retinylidene-N-retinylethanolamine (A2E) in the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells causing photo-oxidative cell damage. In this project, we propose the use of liposome-encapsulated plant pigments to prevent the deleterious effects of A2E photosensitization on retina cells. We prepared small unilamellar vesicles containing anthocyanins, betalains, and carotenoids that absorb light from the near-ultraviolet to orange range and inactivate most reactive oxidantspecies, including singlet oxygen, superoxide ion, and nitrogen-based radicals. During the research placement at the NIU under the supervision of Prof. Elizabeth Gaillard, the capacity of this system to prevent RPE cell death induced by light and oxidizing agents will be evaluated and the mechanism of photoprotection will be investigated by using mass spectrometry and time-resolved spectroscopy. We anticipate that the results will contribute for the development ofnon-invasive methods for the prevention of retinal photodamage and, possibly, result in a safe antioxidant and coloring additive for broader application. (AU)

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