Persimmon Leaves (Diospyros kaki) Extract Protects Optic Nerve Crush-Induced Retinal Degeneration.


Retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death is part of many retinal diseases. Here, we report that the ethanol extract of Diospyros kaki (EEDK) exhibits protective properties against retinal degeneration, both in vitro and in vivo. Upon exposure to cytotoxic compounds, RGC-5 cells showed approximately 40% cell viability versus the control, while pre-treatment with EEDK markedly increased cell viability in a concentration-dependent manner. Further studies revealed that cell survival induced by EEDK was associated with decreased levels of apoptotic proteins, such as poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase, p53, and cleaved caspase-3. In addition to apoptotic pathways, we demonstrated that expression levels of antioxidant-associated proteins, such as superoxide dismutase-1, glutathione S-transferase, and glutathione peroxidase-1, were positively modulated by EEDK. In a partial optic nerve crush mouse model, EEDK had similar ameliorating effects on retinal degeneration resulting from mechanical damages. Therefore, our results suggest that EEDK may have therapeutic potential against retinal degenerative disorders, such as glaucoma.


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