Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Study uses Chinese wolfberries to improve vision imperfections caused by type-2 diabetes

A Kansas State University researcher is exploring the use of Chinese wolfberries to improve vision deficiencies that are common for type-2 diabetics.

Dingbo "Daniel" Lin, K-State research assistant professor of human nutrition, is studying wolfberries and their potential to improve damage to the retina. His findings show that the fruit can lower the oxidative stress that the eye undergoes as a result of type-2 diabetes.

"I would not say that wolfberries are a medicine, but they can be used as a dietary supplement to traditional treatments to improve vision," Lin said. "Wolfberries have high antioxidant activity and are very beneficial to protect against oxidative stress caused by environmental stimuli and genetic mutations."

Lin has experience in biochemistry and eye research, and he wanted to bridge his current work in nutrition with vision. In a conversation about the eye and phytochemicals Lin had with his father, a traditional medical doctor in China, Lin decided to explore the use of wolfberries for vision improvement.

"In our culture's history, we have traditional medicine literature that describes things like the wolfberry and its functions," Lin said.

Wolfberries are bright orange-red, oblong-shaped and grown in China. Lin said the fruit is known to help rebalance homeostasis, boost the immune system, nourish the liver and kidneys and improve vision. He wanted to understand the mechanisms of the wolfberry's effects on vision and started the project in July 2008.

Lin and his colleagues have found that wolfberries have high levels of zeaxanthin, lutein, polysaccharides and polyphenolics, which have been shown to improve vision, including the prevention of age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

The researchers are using dried wolfberries and examining their effects on the retina pigment epithelial cell layer.

"It's the only cell layer in the far back of the retina, and it provides a fundamental support to the whole retina, just like the base of a building," Lin said. "All of the nutrients pass through that cell layer."

By using type-2 diabetic mice, the researchers are studying the effects of wolfberries on oxidative stress, one of the factors that occurs in diabetic retinopathy, which is a common complication of diabetes and the leading cause of blindness in American adults.

"Oxidative stress is known as cell impairment of the production of reactive oxygen," Lin said. "Cellular oxidative stress is involved in many human diseases, such as diabetes, vision impairment and blindness."

The researchers also looked at the endoplasmic reticulum, which is where the folding process of proteins occurs in a cell. When the accumulation of unfolded protein aggregates occurs persistently, the endoplasmic reticulum is under stress. Prolonged stress will eventually cause cell deaths, Lin said.

The in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that the wolfberry's phytochemicals protect the retinal pigment epithelial cells from hyperglycemia, or high glucose. The findings show that the fruit has local effects on oxidative stress, reactivates the enzyme AMPK and reduces endoplasmic reticulum stress.

"AMPK is a key enzyme in the balance of cell energy homeostasis," Lin said. "The outcome of the current research will lead to the development of dietary regimens in prevention of an eye disease."

The researchers are continuing to study wolfberries and their health benefits. Lin said wolfberries could be used as a dietary supplement, though the fruit isn't likely to be found in traditional U.S. food stores. He said consumers might find them in a Chinese food store or on the Internet.

The research is part of a fast-moving field called nutrigenomics, which studies the effects of food on gene expression and disease. Nutrients have been shown to affect gene expression, and by understanding the roles of specific nutrients and how they might cause diseases, scientists could recommend specific foods for an individual based on his or her genetics.

At K-State, other researchers collaborated on the project: Denis Medeiros, professor and department head of human nutrition; Yu Jiang, research associate in human nutrition; Edlin Ortiz, junior in life sciences, Liberal; and Yunong Zhang, a former research assistant in human nutrition.

The research has been presented at the 2009 Experimental Biology conference and 2009 American Society of Cell Biology Conference. The project is funded by a grant from K-State's Center of Biomedical Research Excellence.

Dingbo "Daniel" Lin | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>