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Effect of Long-Term Administration of ?-Lipoic Acid on Retinal Capillary Cell Death and the Development of Retinopathy in Diabetic Rats *

Oxidative stress is increased in the retina in diabetes, and it is considered to play an important role in the development of retinopathy. α-Lipoic acid, a thiol antioxidant, has been shown to have beneficial effects on polyneuropathy and on the parameters of oxidative stress in various tissues, including nerve, kidney, and retina. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of α-lipoic acid on retinal capillary cell apoptosis and the development of pathology in diabetes. Retina was used from streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats receiving diets supplemented with or without α-lipoic acid (400 mg/kg) for 11 months of diabetes. Capillary cell apoptosis (by terminal transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling) and formation of acellular capillaries were investigated in the trypsin-digested retinal microvessels. The effect of α-lipoic acid administration on retinal 8-hydroxy-2′deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) and nitrotyrosine levels was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. α-Lipoic acid administration for the entire duration of diabetes inhibited capillary cell apoptosis and the number of acellular capillaries in the retina, despite similar severity of hyperglycemia in the two diabetic groups (with and without α-lipoic acid). Retinal 8-OHdG and nitrotyrosine levels were increased by over twofold and 70%, respectively, in diabetes, and α-lipoic acid administration inhibited these increases. Our results demonstrate that the long-term administration of α-lipoic acid has beneficial effects on the development of diabetic retinopathy via inhibition of accumulation of oxidatively modified DNA and nitrotyrosine in the retina. α-Lipoic acid supplementation represents an achievable adjunct therapy to help prevent vision loss in diabetic patients.

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 08-24-2009
Authors: Renu A. Kowluru and Sarah Odenbach
Source: Diabetes December 2004 vol. 53 no. 12 3233-3238