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Liangliang Zhao, Chenguang Wang, Delu Song, Yafeng Li, Ying Song, Guanfang Su, Joshua L. Dunaief; Systemic Administration of the Antioxidant/Iron Chelator α-Lipoic Acid Protects Against Light-Induced Photoreceptor Degeneration in the Mouse Retina. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2014;55(9):5979-5988. doi: 10.1167/iovs.14-15025.
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Oxidative stress and inflammation have key roles in the light damage (LD) model of retinal degeneration as well as in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). We sought to determine if lipoic acid (LA), an antioxidant and iron chelator, protects the retina against LD.
Balb/c mice were treated with LA or control saline via intraperitoneal injection, and then were placed in constant cool white light-emitting diode (LED) light (10,000 lux) for 4 hours. Retinas were evaluated at several time points after LD. Photoreceptor apoptosis was assessed using the TUNEL assay. Retinal function was analyzed via electroretinography (ERG). Retinal degeneration was assessed after LD by optical coherence tomography (OCT), TUNEL analysis, and histology. The mRNAs of several oxidative stress, inflammation, and iron-related genes were quantified by quantitative PCR (qPCR).
The LD resulted in substantial photoreceptor-specific cell death. Dosing with LA protected photoreceptors, decreasing the numbers of TUNEL-positive photoreceptors and increasing the number of surviving photoreceptors. The retinal mRNA levels of genes indicating oxidative stress, inflammation, and iron accumulation were lower following LD in mice treated with LA than in control mice. The ERG analysis demonstrated functional protection by LA.
Systemic LA is protective against light-induced retinal degeneration. Since this agent already has proven protective in other retinal degeneration models, and is safe and protective against diabetic neuropathy in patients, it is worthy of consideration for a human clinical trial against retinal degeneration or AMD.
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