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Rita Maccarone, Linda Colecchi, Fabiana Di Marco, Lavinia Fiorani, Benedetto Falsini, Silvia Bisti; Saffron Treatment In Degenerative Retinal Model. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):5456.
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It has been recently reported that pre-treatment with dietary saffron mitigates photoreceptor damage induced in albino rats by exposing them to high intensity light (Maccarone et al IOVS 2008). In addition saffron supplementation improves retinal flicker sensitivity in early age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (Falsini et al IOVS 2010). Here we tested the hypothesis that saffron supplement might mitigate retinal damage even after the induction of degenerative process.
albino rats (Sprague Dawley) born and raised in our colony under cyclic illumination (12 hrs light 5 lux-12 hrs dark) were continuous bright light (CBL) exposed to 1000 lux for 24 hrs; saffron treatment (1mg/kg/day) was started immediately after light exposure. Two groups of experimental animals were used (CBL control and three weeks post-damage treatment). Flash ERG was recorded before CBL and after treatment period. At the end of the second recording session animals were sacrificed eyes rapidly removed, cryo-sectioned and labelled to analyse the thickness of the ONL (outer nuclear layer) and immunostained to visualize several stressing markers.
The photoreceptor layer was preserved in treated animals as it was the fERG response. In addition the rate of photoreceptor death induced by CBL appeared drastically reduced in treated animals.
In agreement with data obtained in AMD patients, post-damage saffron treatment mitigates CBL effects preserving better morphology and function than in control animals.
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