Resveratrol May Help with Eye Health

Abstracted by Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS. Posted July 23, 2010.

The process of angiogenesis (“New Blood”) is when the body forms new blood vessels to help with healing and cell reproduction (1). But angiogenesis can spiral out of control and cause “pathologic angiogenesis” such as in the progression of cancer (2) and the onset of heart disease or eye diseases. Pathologic angiogenesis in the eye leads to blindness, affecting either the back of the eye called the retina (resulting in diabetic retinopathy in the elderly or even blindness in infants) or the part of the eye called the choroid that leads to age-related macular degeneration, which causes vision loss in more than 200,000 people every year (3) and is the leading cause of irreversible visual impairment in the world (4). As a result, finding ways to control angiogenesis is of primary importance in health.

A new study in mice (7) has found that resveratrol, a main ingredient in grapes, may help with blood vessel health. In the study, researchers found that resveratrol given doses of 45 mg per kg of bodyweight (equivalent to 3150 mg for a 70 kg human) for 7 days was able to stop angiogenesis in the eyes of 15 mice that were simulated to be characteristic of eye damage seen during diabetic retinopathy. The induced eye damage was performed on day 8 of the study. Specifically, resveratrol increased activity of a protein called Sirt1

For the researchers, “These properties of resveratrol…could be potentially exploited to treat [eye] disorders …that have abnormal angiogenesis as a central feature of disease [progression].” Supplemental doses of resveratrol range from 50 to 200 mg per day which is significantly less than the 3150 mg equivalent used in the experiment. It should be noted that a marker compound was used and the mice did not actually have diabetic retinopathy. Also important is that animal experiments should lead to trials in humans.

Abstracted from “Resveratrol Regulates Pathologic Angiogenesis by a Eukaryotic Elongation Factor-2 Kinase-Regulated Pathway” in the July 2010 issue of the American Journal of Pathology.

References:

  1. “Understanding Angiogensis” – posted on The Angiogenesis Foundation website.
  2. “Understanding Cancer: Angiogenesis” posted on the National Cancer Institute website 2.
  3. National Institutes of Health National Eye Institute and Prevent Blindness America. Vision Problems in the US: Prevalence of Adult Vision Impairment and Age-Related Eye Disease in America. Schaumburg, Ill: Prevent Blindness America; 2002.
  4. National Advisory Eye Council. Vision Research—A National Plan: 1999-2003, Vol. 1. A Report of the National Advisory Eye Council. Bethesda, Md: National Institutes of Health; 1999. NIH publication 98-4120.
  5. Connor KM.  Increased dietary intake of omega-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids reduces pathological retinal angiogenesis.  Nature Medicine 2007.  Published online: 24 June 2007; | doi:10.1038/nm1591.
  6. Nakagawa K.  In Vivo Angiogenesis Is Suppressed by Unsaturated Vitamin E, Tocotrienol.  J. Nutr. 2007 137: 1938-1943.
  7. Khan AA.  Resveratrol Regulates Pathologic Angiogenesis by a Eukaryotic Elongation Factor-2 Kinase-Regulated Pathway. American Journal Of Pathology, 2010; DOI: 10.2353/ajpath.2010.090836.
  8. Baur JA, Sinclair DA: Therapeutic potential of resveratrol: the in vivo evidence. Nat Rev Drug Discov 2006, 5:493-506.
  9. Howitz KT. Small molecule activators of sirtuins extend Saccharomyces cerevisiae lifespan. Nature 2003, 425:191-196.
  10. Marambaud P, Zhao H, Davies P: Resveratrol promotes clearance of Alzheimer’s disease amyloid-beta peptides. J Biol Chem 2005, 280:37377-37382.
  11. Baur JA.  Resveratrol improves health and survival of mice on a high-calorie diet. Nature 2006, 444:337-342.

Eye Health - General and Misc., Resveratrol