¶Posted on the website on 15 September 2004.
Phototoxicity in Human Lens Epithelial Cells Promoted by St. John's Wort¶
Article first published online: 30 APR 2007
Photochemistry and Photobiology
Volume 80, Issue 3, pages 583–586, November 2004
How to Cite
He, Y.-Y., Chignell, C. F., Miller, D. S., Andley, U. P. and Roberts, J. E. (2004), Phototoxicity in Human Lens Epithelial Cells Promoted by St. John's Wort. Photochemistry and Photobiology, 80: 583–586. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-1097.2004.tb00133.x
- Issue published online: 30 APR 2007
- Article first published online: 30 APR 2007
- Received 25 June 2004; Accepted 13 September 2004
St. John's Wort (SJW), an over-the-counter antidepressant, contains hypericin, which absorbs light in the UV and visible ranges and is phototoxic to skin. To determine if it also could be phototoxic to the eye, we exposed human lens epithelial cells to 0.1–10 μM hypericin and irradiated them with 4 J/cm2 UV-A or 0.9 J/cm2 visible light. Neither hypericin exposure alone nor light exposure alone reduced cell viability. In contrast, cells exposed to hypericin in combination with UV-A or visible light underwent necrosis and apoptosis. The ocular antioxidants lutein and N-acetyl cysteine did not prevent damage. Thus, ingested SJW is potentially phototoxic to the eye and could contribute to early cataractogenesis. Precautions should be taken to protect the eye from intense sunlight while taking SJW.