Purpose: Focal epiretinal radiation has emerged as a promising tool in the management of choroidal neovascularization associated with age-related macular degeneration. However, the dosages tested are not backed by cell culture studies used in the clinical setting empirically.
Methods: Choroidal endothelial cells (RF6A) were maintained in a log scale and exposed to a single fraction of 2, 4, 8, and 12 cobalt gray-equivalent of proton radiation with an internal control. Cell viability was quantified using Vi-cell XR and neutral red assay at days 5, 9, and 12 after radiation. Mitochondrial viability using WST-1 and reactive oxygen species levels using dihydrorhodamine 123 were measured at similar intervals.
Results: By using neutral red assay, on day 12, the percentages of viable cells compared with control were 100.1 ± 5.7%, 96.7 ± 23.3%, 27.6 ± 6.6%, and 19.5 ± 3% at radiation doses of 2, 4, 8, and 12 cobalt gray-equivalent, respectively (P < 0.001). Increase in reactive oxygen species levels correlated with the number of dead cells implicating reactive oxygen species as an intermediary molecule (r2 = 0.85-0.96).
Conclusion: Our study shows sensitivity of cultured choroidal endothelial cells to proton beam radiation at doses of 8 and 12 cobalt gray-equivalent in an in vitro model.