Author(s): Dongare S, Gupta SK, Mathur R, Saxena R, Mathur S,
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Abstract PURPOSE: Diabetic retinopathy is a common microvascular complication of long-standing diabetes. Several complex interconnecting biochemical pathways are activated in response to hyperglycemia. These pathways culminate into proinflammatory and angiogenic effects that bring about structural and functional damage to the retinal vasculature. Since Zingiber officinale (ginger) is known for its anti-inflammatory and antiangiogenic properties, we investigated the effects of its extract standardized to 5\% 6-gingerol, the major active constituent of ginger, in attenuating retinal microvascular changes in rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes. METHODS: Diabetic rats were treated orally with the vehicle or the ginger extract (75 mg/kg/day) over a period of 24 weeks along with regular monitoring of bodyweight and blood glucose and weekly fundus photography. At the end of the 24-week treatment, the retinas were isolated for histopathological examination under a light microscope, transmission electron microscopy, and determination of the retinal tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels. RESULTS: Oral administration of the ginger extract resulted in significant reduction of hyperglycemia, the diameter of the retinal vessels, and vascular basement membrane thickness. Improvement in the architecture of the retinal vasculature was associated with significantly reduced expression of NF-κB and reduced activity of TNF-α and VEGF in the retinal tissue in the ginger extract-treated group compared to the vehicle-treated group. CONCLUSIONS: The current study showed that ginger extract containing 5\% of 6-gingerol attenuates the retinal microvascular changes in rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes through anti-inflammatory and antiangiogenic actions. Although precise molecular targets remain to be determined, 6-gingerol seems to be a potential candidate for further investigation.
This article was published in Mol Vis
and referenced in Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences