Glutathione (1988, 1993, 2002) & Macular Degeneration

Learn more about macular degeneration.

Researchers have known for a long time that patients suffereing from macular degeneration have 58% less of the antioxidant glutathione that patients who are healthy. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals and helps protect the retina from damage from UV radiation and blue light.

Researcher: P. Sternberg

Presented: Treating Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Science Writers Seminar in Ophthalmology: Research to Prevent Blindness. 1988.

A 1993 study investigated whether glutathoine (GSH) had an effect on oxidative injury (by free radicals) to human retinal pigment tissue cells by free radicals in the retina.

In a lab situation, cultured human eye cells were treated with GSH or its amino acid precursors, and any changes were noted after 30, 60, and 120 minutes.

The researchers determined that added GSH provided protection and that the amino acid precursors for GSH, glutamate, N-Acetyl-Cysteine, and L-glycine, and selenium also protected against injury at higher concentrations.

Researchers:Sternberg, Davidson, Jones, et al.

Published: Investigations in Ophthalmology and Visual Science, December, 1993

In 2002 another group of researchers looked at the role of glutathione in protecting the retina's pigment cells. 4-hydroxynonenal type of fat found in the body that is readily damaged by oxidative stress. It had been known that it was implicated in other age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's, but wanted to see whether it contributed to the damaging extra blood vessels that develop in advanced macular degeneration.

They also wanted to see whether the powerful antioxidant glutathione, naturally found in the eye, played a role in protecting the eye from such damage.

They found that in early AMD glutathione protected pigment cells in the retina are protected from dying prematurely by inhibiting damage caused by 4-hydroxynonenal.

Researchers: S.P. Ayalaxomayajula, U.B. Kompella

Published: Induction of vascular endothelial growth factor by 4-hydroxynonenal and its prevention by glutathione precursors in retinal pigment epithelial cells, European Journal of Pharmacology, August, 2002