International journal of food sciences and nutrition

Vaccinium myrtillus extract prevents or delays the onset of diabetes--induced blood-retinal barrier breakdown.

PMID 25582181


Many dietary supplements have been sold through advertising their large number of beneficial effects. The aim of this study was to determine whether bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) help to prevent diabetes-induced retinal vascular dysfunction in vivo. V. myrtillus extract (VME; 100 mg/kg) was orally administered to streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats for 6 weeks. All diabetic rats exhibited hyperglycemia, and VME did not affect the blood glucose levels and body weight during the experiments. In the fluorescein-dextran angiography, the fluorescein leakage was significantly reduced in diabetic rats treated with VME. VME treatment also decreased markers of diabetic retinopathy, such as retinal vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression and degradation of zonula occludens-1, occludin and claudin-5 in diabetic rats. In conclusion, VME may prevent or delay the onset of early diabetic retinopathy. These findings have important implications for prevention of diabetic retinopathy using a dietary bilberry supplement.