Stress-wave-induced injury to retinal pigment epithelium cells in vitro

Tina Douki, Shun Lee, Kathleen Dorey, Thomas J. Flotte, Thomas F. Deutsch, Apostolos G. Doukas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background and Objective: To determine the survival of in vitro retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells subjected to laser-generated stress transients (shock waves) and compare it to that of other cell lines. Study Design/Materials and Methods: Normal and transformed human retinal pigment epithelium cell lines were used. The cells were imbedded in a gel to prevent motion and cavitation and located in a thin layer at the bottom of a pipette tube closed at one end by a polyimide film. Stress transients were generated by pulsed excimer laser (193 nm and 248 nm wavelength) ablation of the polyimide film. Cell survival, compared to that of unirradiated cells, was assessed by counting surviving cells. The stress was varied from 300 to 740 bars and the number of shock wave pulses applied varied from 5 to 150. Results: Cell survival decreased sharply at the higher stresses but some cells always survived. The lowest survival rate was 50%. Increasing the number of shock wave pulses did not increase cell killing after 20 pulses, demonstrating a saturation effect. In contrast to the transformed cell line, normal cells could not be killed at the highest stress available to us. Conclusion: The susceptibility of RPE cells to damage by stress waves varies with cell line. Transformed retinal pigment epithelium cells are more susceptible than normal ones. Saturation of the damage versus number of pulses is observed and a threshold-like behavior for cell killing versus stress is found. Because at least 50% of the cells survived, normal cell growth can serve to replenish damaged cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-259
Number of pages11
JournalLasers in Surgery and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 19 1996


  • cell killing
  • retinal pigment epithelium
  • shock waves
  • stress transient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Dermatology


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