Neuroprotective effects of Lycium barbarum Lynn on protecting retinal ganglion cells in an ocular hypertension model of glaucoma.Exp Neurol. 2007 Jan; 203(1):269-73.EN
Glaucoma is one of the major neurological disorders in eye leading to irreversible blindness in elderly. Increase in intraocular pressure (IOP) has been considered to be the major risk factor for the progressive loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) in retina. While attenuation of IOP has been a major pharmaceutical target, reduction of IOP cannot prevent progressive loss of RGCs. In this regard, urgent need for alternative treatment has to be investigated. Anti-aging medicinal herb Lycium barbarum L. has been used for centuries in Eastern World to protect the eyes and maintain good health. Using an ocular hypertension (OH) model in rat by laser photocoagulation of episcleral and limbal veins, we attempted to investigate whether L. barbarum can promote RGCs survival against elevated IOP. Oral administration of L. barbarum in Sprague-Dawley rats (250-280 g) significantly reduced the loss of RGCs, although elevated IOP was not significantly altered. Rats fed with the 1 mg/kg extract could nearly totally escape from pressure-induced loss of RGCs. In conclusion, this is the first in vivo report showing the therapeutic function of L. barbarum against neurodegeneration in the retina of rat OH model. The results demonstrate that this extract may be a potential candidate for the development of neuroprotective drug against the loss of RGCs in glaucoma.