Comparative assessment of distribution of blackcurrant anthocyanins in rabbit and rat ocular tissues

Exp Eye Res. 2006 Aug;83(2):348-56. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2005.12.019. Epub 2006 Apr 25.


Anthocyanins (ACs) are phenolic compounds that are distributed widely in fruits and vegetables. Although consumption of these compounds has been shown to improve visual function, the distribution of ACs in ocular tissue has not been examined in detail. The aim of this study was therefore to evaluate the ocular distribution of blackcurrant anthocyanins (BCAs) in rats and rabbits after oral, intravenous (i.v.) and intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration. Identification and quantification of ACs were carried out using high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS) and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with UV-visible detection, respectively. BCAs were identified in the plasma and whole eye after oral and i.p. administration in rats. No other peaks were detected in either plasma or ocular tissues after administration when the absorbance of the eluate was monitored at 520 nm. This finding indicates that intact forms of ACs were present in rats after administration of BCA. In rats given i.p. administration, the concentration of total ACs in the whole eye and some ocular tissues was higher than that measured in plasma. These results suggested that ACs detected in the ocular tissues were not due to residual blood. Following i.v. administration in rabbits, four ACs were identified in the plasma and several ocular tissues including the aqueous humor, cornea, sclera, choroid, ciliary body, iris and retina. A small amount of ACs was also detected in the vitreous and lens. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that BCAs were absorbed and distributed in ocular tissues as intact forms. Our data show clearly that intact forms of BCAs pass thorough the blood-aqueous barrier and blood-retinal barrier in both rats and rabbits.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Anthocyanins / administration & dosage
  • Anthocyanins / blood
  • Anthocyanins / pharmacokinetics*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Ciliary Body / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Eye / metabolism*
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Ribes / chemistry*
  • Sclera / metabolism
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Anthocyanins