Blueberries May Protect Critical Eye Tissue

Anthocyanins from blueberries may protect critical eye tissue from premature aging and light-induced damage, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Anthocyanins from blueberries may protect critical eye tissue from premature aging and light-induced damage, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Researchers at the China Agricultural University in Beijing used in vitro cell models to determine whether retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)-a tissue layer critical to retinal health-could benefit from treatment with blueberry extract rich in anthocyanin compounds.

Compared to unexposed RPE cells, RPE cells exposed to light experienced premature biological changes, reduced cell viability (as measured by MTT assay), and increased vascular endothelial growth factor (a protein that triggers abnormal blood vessel formulation). When RPE cells were treated with blueberry extract, cell viability improved. Cell viability for blueberry-treated cells was even recorded as beinghigher than that of cells that were not exposed to light.

Vascular endothelial growth factor was also down-regulated with the blueberry anthocyanin extract.

"The findings indicate that blueberries, or other kinds of fruits that are rich in anthocyanins, have the potential to prevent age-related macular degeneration and other retinal diseases related to RPE cells," stated the author of the study.

Funding for the study was supported by the People's Republic of China.