Resveratrol (2015, 2017) & Glaucoma
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Resveratrol is a micronutrient of the polyphenol family which became recognized in the early 2000s for its beneficial effect on heart disease. This was due to its ability to provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions as well as improving blood vessel flexibility and ability to relax.
It was also identified as being able to inhibit extra blood vessels that can grown in the eye when oxygen is restricted and thus distort the retina.
Oxidative stress1 has been targeted in treatment options. Resveratrol's effectiveness as an antioxidant has therefore been suggested in cases of both glaucoma and optic neuritis.
One reason that resveratrol seems to be effective in ocular conditions is that it has the ability to cross the semi-permeable blood-brain and blood-eye tissue barriers. Taken orally, researchers have found that resveratrol shows up in the blood system in as little as 10 minutes due to its rapid metabolism by the digestive system.
Researchers measured levels of trans-resveratrol as well as three metabolites in eye tissue in samples taken during eye surgery for various conditions. The patients took resveratrol orally prior to surgery and samples were carefully preserved to retain accurate levels of the micronutrient.
They found resveratrol in several of the eye tissues which indicates that it is able to cross the semi-permeable barriers and so be bio-available to eye tissue. Thus its antioxidant and other beneficial capacities are available in combating oxidative stress in the eye.Researchers: S. Wang, Z. Wang, et al, Published: Tissue Distribution of trans-Resveratrol and Its Metabolites after Oral Administration in Human Eyes, Journal of Ophthalmology, March, 2017.
Noting that resveratrol has previously been found to be helpful in heart disease and osteoporosis, scientists wanted to investigate its effect on nerve tissue, specially retinal ganglion cells. They measured how long-term intake of resveratrol protects against ganglion cell dendrite loss or damage.
In lab mice exposed to a condition that causes nerve cell dendrite length loss, those animals who had been on a resveratrol-supplemented diet for a year experienced significantly less dendrite length less and complexity compared to the animals on the control diet.
The finding is important because in glaucoma and other optic nerve atrophy conditions there is loss of nerve cell tissue, degredation of dendrites and loss of synapses. Hence the potential protective role of resveratrol can be a valuable adjunct to treatment.
Researchers: J.D. Lindsey, K.X. Duong-Polk, et al,
Published: Protection of injured retinal ganglion cell dendrites and unfolded protein response resolution after long-term dietary resveratrol, Neurobiological Aging, May, 2015.
1. A. Kimura, K. Namekata, et al,Targeting Oxidative Stress for Treatment of Glaucoma and Optic Neuritis, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, February, 2017.