Protective effects of Scoparia dulcis L. extract on high glucose-induced injury in human retinal pigment epithelial cells

Front Nutr. 2023 Mar 30:10:1085248. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2023.1085248. eCollection 2023.


Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a major cause of vision loss in diabetic patients. Hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress and the accumulation of inflammatory factors result in blood-retinal barrier dysfunction and the pathogenesis of DR. Scoparia dulcis L. extract (SDE), a traditional Chinese medicine, has been recently recognized for its various pharmacological effects, including anti-diabetic, anti-hyperlipidemia, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidative activities. However, there is no relevant research on the protective effect of SDE in DR. In this study, we treated high glucose (50 mM) in human retinal epithelial cells (ARPE-19) with different concentrations of SDE and analyzed cell viability, apoptosis, and ROS production. Moreover, we analyzed the expression of Akt, Nrf2, catalase, and HO-1, which showed that SDE dose-dependently reduced ROS production and attenuated ARPE-19 cell apoptosis in a high-glucose environment. Briefly, we demonstrated that SDE exhibited an anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory ability in protecting retinal cells from high-glucose (HG) treatment. Moreover, we also investigated the involvement of the Akt/Nrf2/HO-1 pathway in SDE-mediated protective effects. The results suggest SDE as a nutritional supplement that could benefit patients with DR.

Keywords: ROS; diabetic retinopathy; high glucose; inflammation; retinal pigment epithelium; traditional Chinese medicine.