Retinal ganglion cell (RGC) is a type of neuron in the innermost cellular layer of the retina of the eye. The neurons receive visual information and pass them to the brain.
Believe or not, the neurons also extract different aspects of the image before passing them to the brain.
According to the biological information from an animal model, retinal ganglion cells distributed evenly across the retina, with the density ranges from ∼3000 cells per mm2 to ∼600 cells per mm2 depending on the areas of distribution.
Certain neurodegenerative diseases have been found to induce the gradual loss of retinal ganglion cells. Alzheimer's' disease and disease associated with multiple system atrophy the loss of retinal ganglion cells showed a pattern resembling glaucoma.
However, in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Huntington’s disease, the loss of RGCs are found to resemble that of mitochondrial optic neuropathies.
Any structural damage of the retinal nerve fiber layer and optic nerve head, or functional damage can affect the RGC integrity.
Symptoms of retinal ganglion cell (RGC) loss is depended on the level of damage of the retinal nerve fiber layer and optic nerve head in the retina. Symptoms can be severe eye pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting, visual disturbance, blurred vision in patients with glaucoma.
Bilberry is a species of low-growing shrubs in the genus Vaccinium, belongings to the family Ericaceae, native to Northern Europe.
The plant berry has been used as herbs in traditional medicine for the treatment of acute and chronic diarrhea, gastritis, gastric ulcer, and duodenal ulcer, enterocolitis, ulcerative colitis, anemia, cystitis, kidney disease, and psoriasis, diabetes, etc.
In the urgency on finding a plant-based compound for the treatment of retinal damage, researchers evaluated the protective effects of a Vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry) anthocyanoside (VMA) and/or its main anthocyanidin constituents (cyanidin, delphinidin, and malvidin) on retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) against damage.
In vitro, retinal ganglion cells damage induced by free radical activation by injection of 3-(4-morpholinyl) sydnonimine hydrochloride (SIN-1, a peroxynitrite donor) and in vivo, N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA)-induced retinal damage in mice, researchers showed that VMA and all three anthocyanidins significantly inhibited SIN-1-induced neurotoxicity and radical activation in RGC-5 associated with the initiation of damage of the retinal ganglion cells.
Lipid peroxidation in mouse forebrain homogenates involved the retinal damage was also reduced by all tested compounds in concentration and dose-dependent manner.
Furthermore, intravitreously injected VMA significantly inhibited the NMDA-induced morphological retinal damage and an increase in apoptosis of DNA fragments in the ganglion cell layer.
Based on the findings, researchers suggested that bioactive compounds isolated bilberry process neuroprotective effects through antioxidative properties in vitro and in vivo models of retinal diseases.
In order to obtain more information about bilberry protective property against the damage of retinal ganglion cell, scientists analyzed the bilberry extract anthocyanins on retinal ganglion cell (RGC) survival after optic nerve crush.
C57BL/6J mice selected to the study were administrated orally with anthocyanins in bilberry extract (100 mg/kg/day or 500 mg/kg/day).
According to the tested assays, all doses of anthocyanins in bilberry extract exhibited the increased significantly levels of Grp78 and Grp94 associated with endoplasmic reticulum integrity and stress-induced autophagy in mice detected in the inner nuclear layer and ganglion cell layer of the retina, surrounding the RGCs.
Gene expression of Chop, Bax, and Atf4 increased associated with cellular stress and the mediation of apoptosis in mice after optic nerve crush was also decreased significantly after oral bilberry extract administration.
In other words, retinal ganglion cell (RGC) survival was increased substantially after injecting anthocyanins in bilberry extract.
Dr. Nakamura O, the lead scientist after taking into account co and confounders wrote, "bilberry extract has a potential role in neuroprotective treatments for retinal injuries, such as those which occur in glaucoma".
Taken altogether, bilberry processed abundantly bioactive compound anthocyanin may be considered a functional remedy for the protection of retinal damage against retinal diseases, particularly in retinal degeneration, pending to the validation of larger sample size and multicenter human study.
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Kyle J. Norton (Scholar, Master of Nutrition, All right reserved)
Health article writer and researcher; Over 10.000 articles and research papers have been written and published online, including worldwide health, ezine articles, article base, health blogs, self-growth, best before it's news, the karate GB daily, etc.,.
Named TOP 50 MEDICAL ESSAYS FOR ARTISTS & AUTHORS TO READ by Disilgold.com Named 50 of the best health Tweeters Canada - Huffington Post
Nominated for shorty award over last 4 years
Some articles have been used as references in medical research, such as international journal Pharma and Bioscience, ISSN 0975-6299.
(1) Bilberry extract administration prevents retinal ganglion cell death in mice via the regulation of chaperone molecules under conditions of endoplasmic reticulum stress by Nakamura O1, Moritoh S1,2, Sato K1,3, Maekawa S1, Murayama N1, Himori N1, Omodaka K1,3, Sogon T4, Nakazawa T. (PubMed)
(2) Bilberry and its main constituents have neuroprotective effects against retinalneuronal damage in vitro and in vivo by Matsunaga N1, Imai S, Inokuchi Y, Shimazawa M, Yokota S, Araki Y, Hara H.(PubMed)
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