Prevention of cadmium accumulation in retinal pigment epithelium with manganese and zinc

Soisungwan Satarug, Mihoko Kikuchi, Raewadee Wisedpanichkij, Bin Li, Kazuhisa Takeda, Kesara Na-Bangchang, Michael R. Moore, Kenji Hirayama, Shigeki Shibahara

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of irreversible blindness in the elderly. Risk factors include old age, female gender, obesity, smoking, low dietary intakes of antioxidants and increased exposure to the toxic metal cadmium (Cd2+). Supplementation with high-dose zinc (80 mg) provides some protection, but the mechanism(s) underlying such protection has not been fully elucidated. The present study had a focus on the human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cell line ARPE-19 in an attempt to demonstrate a reduction in intracellular Cd2+ effect associated with heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) expression by co-exposure with zinc (Zn2+) or manganese (Mn2+), which is known to be a more potent inhibitor of Cd2+ uptake than Zn2+. Our results indicated that co-exposure of 10 μM Cd2+ with 5 μM Mn2+ reduced the intracellular Cd2+ effect by 50-60%, possibly by limiting the amounts of Cd2+ entering cells through Mn2+ transporter protein (ZIP8). A similar reduction in a Cd2+ effect was achieved by co-exposure with 20 μM Zn2+ while co-exposure with 5 and 10 μM Zn2+ ions was ineffective. Mn2+ ions as low as 2.5 μM were found to cause an increase in HO-1 mRNA expression levels in ARPE-19 cells, demonstrating for the first time that Mn2+ is an inducer of HO-1. Mn2+ ions at 1 μM induced HO-1 mRNA expression in the HEK293 human embryonic kidney cells. In contrast, Zn2+ in 5, 10 or 20 μM concentrations did not induce expression of HO-1 in ARPE-19 cells or any other cells tested. These data suggest the superiority of Mn2+ over Zn2+ in preventing Cd2+ uptake and accumulation in RPE to toxic levels. Further, induction of HO-1 by Mn2+ could provide RPE with some resistance to enhanced oxidative stress arising from Cd2+ accumulation in RPE as HO-1 is one of the frontline cellular antioxidant defense mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-593
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Eye Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Dec 10


  • age-relate macular degeneration
  • cadmium
  • heme oxygenase
  • manganese
  • metal transporters
  • retinal pigment epithelium
  • SLC39
  • Solute-Carrier 39 protein
  • zinc
  • ZIP14
  • ZIP8


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