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Keywords:

  • diabetic ophthalmopathy complication;
  • streptozotocin;
  • cataract;
  • retinopathy

Diabetic ophthalmopathy (DO) impairs patients' eyesight and even causes blindness. Here, we investigated the effect of 60% ethanol extract of the rhizome of Anemarrhenae asphodeloides (ERA), which is commonly used in Chinese medicine formulae in treating diabetes, on DO progression. Blood glucose, insulin, advanced glycation end products (AGE), super oxygen dehydrogenises (SOD), malondialdehyde (MDA) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) levels in serum and sorbitol concentration in the lens were measured. Retinal endothelium/pericyte (E/P) ratio was evaluated, and structural changes of the retina and lens were observed. Effects of mangiferin and neomangiferin, the two major components of ERA, on subnormal growth of pericytes induced by high glucose were also detected. It was found that the activities of SOD and GSH-Px in serum were increased, whereas MDA and AGE levels in serum and sorbitol concentration in the lens were decreased in ERA-treated DO rats. E/P ratio was decreased, and the pathological changes of the lens and retina were alleviated by ERA treatment. Moreover, the subnormal growth of pericytes induced by high glucose was ameliorated by mangiferin and neomangiferin. These results indicated that ERA could effectively prevent DO progression in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats, and mangiferin and neomangiferin may be the main effective components. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.