Neuroprotective effects of quercetin in diabetic rat retina.
Saudi J Biol Sci. 2017 Sep ;24(6):1186-1194. Epub 2016 Dec 3. PMID: 28855811
Mohammad S Ola
Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a severe complication of diabetes and the leading cause of blindness among working adults worldwide. DR is being widely recognized as a neurodegenerative disease of the retina, since, retinal neurons are damaged soon after diabetes onset. Diabetes-induced oxidative stress is considered as central factor that dysregulates neurotrophic factors and activates apoptosis, thereby damages neurons in the diabetic retina. Flavonoids being a powerful antioxidant have been considered to protect neurons in diabetic retina. The purpose of this study was to analyze the beneficial effects of flavonoid, quercetin to protect neurons in the diabetic rat retina. We quantitated the expression levels of BDNF, NGF, TrkB, synaptophysin, Akt, Bcl-2, cytochrome c and caspase-3 using Western blotting techniques in the diabetic retina with and without quercetin treatments and compared with non-diabetic rats. In addition, we employed ELISA techniques to determine the level of BDNF. Caspase-3 activity and the level of glutathione were analyzed by biochemical methods. Our results indicate that quercetin treatment to diabetic rats caused a significant increase in the level of neurotrophic factors and inhibited the level of cytochrome c and caspase-3 activity in the diabetic retina. Furthermore, the level of an anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 was augmented in quercetin treated diabetic retina. Thus, quercetin, may protect the neuronal damage in diabetic retina by ameliorating the levels of neurotrophic factors and also by inhibiting the apoptosis of neurons. Therefore, this study suggests that quercetin can be a suitable therapeutic agent to prevent neurodegeneration in diabetic retinopathy.