Ethanol Extract of Chinese Propolis Attenuates Early Diabetic Retinopathy by Protecting the Blood–Retinal Barrier in Streptozotocin‐Induced Diabetic Rats (Englisch)

In: Journal of Food Science   ;  84 ,  2  ;  358-369  ;  2019

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Propolis has been shown to reduce the level of blood glucose and suppress the histopathological changes in diabetics. However, it still remains unknown if propolis has a similar effect on diabetic retinopathy (DR). Our study aimed to evaluate the effect of the ethanol extract of Chinese propolis (EECP) on early DR in streptozotocin (STZ)‐induced diabetic rats. EECP was given to diabetic rats by oral intubation for 12 weeks. The concentrations of fasting blood glucose (FBG), glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), malondialdehyde (MDA), reactive oxygen species (ROS), and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) were measured. Pathological examinations, including hematoxylin and eosin (HE) staining, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and immunofluorescence, were also conducted to provide further evidence of EECP's effect on early DR. EECP was able to attenuate diabetes via directly decreasing the levels of FBG and HbA1c, which also resulted in the reduction of MDA, ROS, and RNS. Furthermore, EECP could protect against the damages of photoreceptor cells, as well as retinal thickening. And the inhibition of blood–retinal barrier (BRB) leakage was also observed in EECP‐treated diabetic rats, along with the inhibition the loss of tight junction proteins (occludin, ZO‐1). These results suggest that EECP has an ameliorating effect on early DR by inhibition of blood–retinal barrier breakdown.

This study sheds light on the protective effect of the ethanol extract of Chinese propolis on early diabetic retinopathy and the molecular actions underlying the inhibition of blood–retinal barrier breakdown. Our study suggests that ethanol extract of Chinese propolis can be considered as a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of early diabetic retinopathy.

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