The purpose of this study was to verify the occurrence of pigment dispersion in retinal pigment cells exposed to UVA and UVB radiation, and to investigate the possible participation of a nitric oxide (NO) pathway. Retinal pigment cells from Neohelice granulata were obtained by cellular dissociation. Cells were analyzed for 30 min in the dark (control) and then exposed to 1.1 and 3.3 J cm−2 UVA, 0.07 and 0.9 J cm−2 UVB, 20 nmβ-PDH (pigment dispersing hormone) or 10 μm SIN-1 (NO donor). Histological analyses were performed to verify the UV effect in vivo. Cultured cells were exposed to 250 μm L-NAME (NO synthase blocker) and afterwards were treated with UVA, UVB or β-PDH. The retinal cells in culture displayed significant pigment dispersion in response to UVA, UVB and β-PDH. The same responses to UVA and UVB were observed in vivo. SIN-1 did not induce pigment dispersion in the cell cultures. l-NAME significantly decreased the pigment dispersion induced by UVA and UVB but not by β-PDH. All retinal cells showed an immunopositive reaction against neuronal nitric oxide synthases. Therefore, UVA and UVB radiation are capable of inducing pigment dispersion in retinal pigment cells of Neohelice granulata and this dispersion may be nitric oxide synthase dependent.
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