Ancient Berry Could Fight Diabetic BlindnessTuesday, June 05, 2012
Taurine-rich goji berries may help protect the retinas of people with long-term diabetes, according to University of Sydney researchers. In people with diabetes, high blood glucose levels cause proteins in the eye to become oxidated, causing retinal cells to die. Taurine is both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and may offer some protection to retinal cells by activating a nuclear receptor protein called PPAR-gamma that regulates retinal cells. The researchers tested both pure taurine and a goji-berry extract, which has high levels of taurine. "What we found is that both the pure taurine and the taurine-laden goji berry extract protected the retina against increased permeability of the protective barrier through its actions on the PPAR-gamma receptor, thereby helping the epithelial cells that provide the protective barrier to the retina," says lead researcher Basil Roufogalis. "We are hopeful that these promising results for treating or preventing diabetic retinopathy will lead to human clinical trials."