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The Tibetan goji berry could help fight blindness caused by long-term diabetes, according to studies conducted by University of Sydney researchers.
Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Basil Roufogalis, says the goji berry is abundant in taurine, an ingredient credited with anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulating properties which could protect the retina.
‘Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness for people with diabetes, with up to 60 percent of people living with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes developing chronic hyperglycaemia, a condition which can damage retina cells,' explained Professor Roufogalis.
The pharmacy researchers undertook work showing the goji berry and its taurine component activated a protein called PPAR-gamma that plays a crucial role in regulating the retinal cells.
‘We found that goji berry protected against the death of cells caused by high concentrations of glucose in the retina. This protection occurred in parallel with the activation by the extract of the receptor protein (PPAR-gamma).'
‘We are hopeful that these promising results for treating or preventing diabetic retinopathy will lead to human clinical trials,' said Professor Roufogalis.
Professor Alan Bensoussan, director of National Institute of Complementary Medicine (NICM), hailed the innovative research.
‘This is pioneering scientific research in the field of herbal medicine, and is to be applauded for investigating novel ways to address the debilitating effects of diabetes, which is such a pressing global health problem,' he said.
Source: University of Sydney