Author(s): Kowluru RA, Tang J, Kern TS
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Abstract Antioxidants were administered to diabetic rats and experimentally galactosemic rats to evaluate the ability of these agents to inhibit the development of diabetic retinopathy. Alloxan diabetic rats and nondiabetic rats that were fed 30\% galactose randomly received standard diets or the diets supplemented with ascorbic acid and alpha-tocopherol (vitamins C+E diet) or a more comprehensive mixture of antioxidants (multi-antioxidant diet), including Trolox, alpha-tocopherol, N-acetyl cysteine, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, and selenium. Diabetes or galactose feeding of at least 12 months resulted in pericyte loss, acellular capillaries, and basement membrane thickening. Compared with diabetic controls, the development of acellular capillaries was inhibited by 50\% (P < 0.05) in diabetic rats that received supplemental vitamins C+E, and the number of pericyte ghosts tended to be reduced. The vitamins C+E supplement had no beneficial effect in galactosemic rats, but these rats consumed only approximately half as much of the antioxidants as the diabetic rats. The multi-antioxidant diet significantly inhibited ( approximately 55-65\%) formation of both pericyte ghosts and acellular capillaries in diabetic rats and galactosemic rats (P < 0.05 vs. controls), without affecting the severity of hyperglycemia. Parameters of retinal oxidative stress, protein kinase C activity, and nitric oxides remained elevated for at least 1 year of hyperglycemia, and these abnormalities were normalized by multi-antioxidant therapy. Thus, long-term administration of antioxidants can inhibit the development of the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, and the mechanism by which this action occurs warrants further investigation. Supplementation with antioxidants can offer an achievable and inexpensive adjunct therapy to help inhibit the development of retinopathy in diabetes.
This article was published in Diabetes
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism