Atmospheric-pressure cold plasma induces transcriptional changes in ex vivo human corneas

Umberto Rosani, Elena Tarricone, Paola Venier, Velika Deligianni, Matteo Zuin, Emilio Martines, Andrea Leonardi, Paola Brun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Atmospheric pressure cold plasma (APCP) might be considered a novel tool for tissue disinfection in medicine since the active chemical species produced by low plasma doses, generated by ionizing helium gas in air, induces reactive oxygen species (ROS) that kill microorganisms without substantially affecting human cells. Objectives: In this study, we evaluated morphological and functional changes in human corneas exposed for 2 minutes (min) to APCP and tested if the antioxidant n-acetyl l-cysteine (NAC) was able to inhibit or prevent damage and cell death. Results: Immunohistochemistry and western blotting analyses of corneal tissues collected at 6 hours (h) post-APCP treatment demonstrated no morphological tissue changes, but a transient increased expression of OGG1 glycosylase that returned to control levels in 24 h. Transcriptome sequencing and quantitative real time PCR performed on different corneas revealed in the treated corneas many differentially expressed genes: namely, 256 and 304 genes showing expression changes greater than ± 2 folds in the absence and presence of NAC, respectively. At 6 h post-treatment, the most over-expressed gene categories suggested an active or enhanced cell functioning, with only a minority of genes specifically concerning oxidative DNA damage and repair showing slight over-expression values (<2 folds). Moreover, time-related expression analysis of eight genes up-regulated in the APCP-treated corneas overall demonstrated the return to control expression levels after 24 h. Conclusions: These findings of transient oxidative stress accompanied by wide-range transcriptome adjustments support the further development of APCP as an ocular disinfectant Copyright:
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0133173
Pages (from-to)-
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Rosani, U., Tarricone, E., Venier, P., Deligianni, V., Zuin, M., Martines, E., ... Brun, P. (2015). Atmospheric-pressure cold plasma induces transcriptional changes in ex vivo human corneas. PLoS One, 10(7), -. [e0133173].