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Stefano Di Marco, Darin Zerti, Rita Maccarone, Benedetto Falsini, Silvia Bisti; Targeting retinal degeneration in ABCr -/- mice with dietary saffron.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(12):161.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Stargardt disease/fundus flavimaculatus (STD/FF) retinal dystrophy is thought to develop through oxidative damage as a consequence of ABCA4 gene mutation. Recent findings indicate that Saffron and its components may exert neuroprotection by counteracting retinal oxidative damage. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of saffron supplementation on retinal function and morphology in an animal model of STG/FF.
We analyzed ABCr -/- mice at three different time points: 2, 5 and 12 months of age in a) ABCr -/-Control group b) ABCr -/- treated with saffron from birth. In addition, to speedup the apoptotic process and to evaluate the effects of saffron on different severity stages of the pathology, we exposed to bright continuous light (BCL), 3000 lux for 72 hours at 2, 5 and 12 months of age c) ABCr -/- untreated animals and d) ABCr -/- treated with saffron from birth. To evaluate retinal functionality, we recorded ERG responses from all groups. To assess morphology we estimated the expression of Fibroblast growth factor receptor 2, Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), apoptotic cells by mean of TUNEL staining, activation of microglia by mean of IBA-1 staining and lipofuscine deposits.
ERG recordings: amplitude of both a- and b-waves are significantly higher in both Control-treated and BCL-treated with respect to untreated groups at all the tested time points. Neuronal death, microglia activation, reactive gliosis and lipofuscine deposits are reduced by saffron treatment in both experimental treated groups while FGF expression is not modulated by saffron treatment remaining high throughout the entire lifespan of ABCr -/- mice.
Saffron treatment preserves both morphology and function in ABCr -/- mice suggesting the possibility to be used as treatment for STD/FF.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2016 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Seattle, Wash., May 1-5, 2016.
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