PURPOSE: Collagen deposition and myofibroblast differentiation are critical factors related to excessive scarring in ocular surgeries. This study evaluated the anti-fibrotic activity of rosmarinic acid on rabbit Tenon's capsule fibroblasts stimulated with transforming growth factor- β2. METHODS: Primary cultures of rabbit Tenon's capsule fibroblasts were treated with various concentrations of rosmarinic acid for 12 h, in the presence and absence of transforming growth factor-β2. After 48 h, the proliferation index of rabbit Tenon's capsule fibroblasts and the differentiation of myofibroblasts were investigated through immunofluorescence staining for proliferating cell nuclear antigen and alpha smooth muscle actin. An automated cell counter and colorimetric metabolic activity assay were used to evaluate cell number and viability. Collagen expression and production were determined by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and hydroxyproline assay, respectively. RESULTS: Unstimulated rabbit Tenon's capsule fibroblasts treated with any concentration of rosmarinic acid exhibited diminished collagen expression (p<0.01) but showed no differences in proliferation index. Transforming growth factor-β2 exposure induced myofibroblast differentiation and increased collagen production. Exposure to rosmarinic acid at 1.0 and 3.0 µM concentrations reduced the proliferation index (p<0.02), as well as the collagen expression and hydroxyproline content (p<0.05). Exposure to 3.0 µM rosmarinic acid reduced viability (p=0.035) in unstimulated rabbit Tenon's capsule fibroblasts and cell numbers (p=0.001) in both stimulated and unstimulated rabbit Tenon's capsule fibroblast cultures. CONCLUSIONS: Exposure to 1.0 µM rosmarinic acid was noncytotoxic and led to reduced collagen expression and proliferation of stimulated rabbit Tenon's capsule fibroblasts. These findings suggest that rosmarinic acid is a relatively non-injurious anti-fibrotic compound to rabbit Tenon's capsule fibroblasts, with potential application as an adjunctive agent in ocular procedures, particularly in glaucoma surgeries.
Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil.