Study: Lipoic Acid (2011) & Optic Neuritis



Learn more about treatment options for optic neuritis.

Optic neuritis is a condition in which the optic nerve becomes inflammed and swollen, sometimes due to autoimmune conditions, inflammatory conditions, various infections or trauma. It is considered one of the first symptoms of development of multiple sclerosis.

Researchers have found that lipoic acid, which behaves like an antioxidant, is effective in treating lab animals who have a type of optic neuritis which is modeled to be similar to optic neuritis in human patients.

The researchers tested the effect of lipoic in both early and late supression models, in other words, in incidences where the damage to the optic nerve was less or greater. The test mice received daily injections of either lipoic acid or sterile saline solution. The controls with early optic neuritis had about 14% damage to the optic nerve (as noted by viewing a microscopic cross section of the optic nerve), the test mice with early optic neuritis had about 2% damage - a marked improvement.

In the controls and mice in the late suppression model, the controls had almost 25% of the optic nerve damaged, while the test mice had only about 8% damage - again, a marked difference.

In addition the mice treated with lipoic acid had optic nerves with many fewer attached glycoproteins and leukocyte markers in both early and late models.

The researchers concluded that it will be worthwhile to investigate the effectiveness of lipoic acid in patients with acute optic neuritis.

Researchers: P. Chaudhary, G. Marracci, et al.
Published: Lipoic acid decreases inflammation and confers neuroprotection in experimental autoimmune optic neuritis, Journal of Neuroimmunology, April, 2011.