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Posterior Segment Retina Retinal Effects of Resveratrol Ross A Jarratt, BSc, 1 Hannah Bartlett, PhD, FAAO 2 and Frank Eperjesi, PhD, MBA, FAAO 3 1. Research Fellow; 2. Senior Lecturer in Optometry; 3. Associate Professor in Optometry, Ophthalmic Research Group, School of Life & Health Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, UK Abstract Resveratrol is a plant polyphenol that has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Age-related macular degeneration is a degenerative condition characterized by elevated levels of oxidation triggered cell damage and a subsequent inflammatory cascade. Resveratrol prevents activation of inflammatory pathways and is also a potent scavenger of reactive oxygen species and free radicals. Experiments using the mouse model have demonstrated that resveratrol reduces angiogenesis. The evidence suggests that resveratrol would be a useful inclusion in ocular nutritional supplements. Keywords Angiogenesis, inflammation, maculopathy, oxidation, resveratrol, retina Disclosure: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare. Received: April 15, 2013 Accepted: May 20, 2013 Citation: US Ophthalmic Review, 2013;6(2):132–4 Correspondence: Frank Eperjesi, PhD, MBA, FAAO, Ophthalmic Research Group, School of Life & Health Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, B4 7ET, UK. E: Resveratrol is a polyphenol that is found in plants. It is synthesized in response to pathogenic stresses and fungal disease and forms part of a defence mechanism against infection. 1 Red grapes, mulberries, and peanuts are particularly rich sources. 2 A high concentration is found in red wine. Interest in therapeutic effects of resveratrol began with the French paradox describing a lower incidence of cardiovascular events among French populations despite a high intake of dietary fat. 3 Clinical studies have shown that resveratrol is a potent cardioprotective, 4 chemotherapeutic, 5 and neuroprotective 6 agent and displays anti-aging properties. 7 These effects are most likely attributable to potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of visual loss in those over the age of 50 years in the developed world. 8–11 In the US, the number of people affected by this condition is expected to increase from 1.75 million to almost three million by 2020. 11 The condition is characterized in part by an uncontrolled level of oxidation, which damages cell membranes and triggers inflammation. Resveratrol may have the potential to impact on the risk for onset or progression of this condition. Developed world diets contain a very low concentration of resveratrol 12 and increasingly it is being included in nutritional supplementation formulations. This review explores the scientific evidence documenting the properties of resveratrol relevant to AMD and its potential use in ocular nutritional supplements. The evidence presented here is from published literature located through systematic searches of PubMed and Web of Knowledge. Methods Literature searches of PubMed and Web of Knowledge were undertaken. All searches performed were topic searches and Boolean operators 132 were used to ensure that the results remain focused. An initial search performed on Web of Knowledge included the search criteria of resveratrol or polyphenol or phytoalexin or stilbenoid and eye or retina or ocular or vision or sight. Other searches used the criteria resveratrol and anti-inflammatory, resveratrol and antioxidant, resveratrol and retina, resveratrol and age-related macul* and were performed on Web of Knowledge and PubMed. Both databases were set to automatically filter out any search results dated prior to 1950. The relevancy of the remaining research results was checked by evaluation of the title against the proposed line of enquiry addressed in this review, namely the retinal effects of the resveratrol. If the title proved to be ambiguous, a decision was made by the authors based on the abstract as to whether the result was relevant. By performing the research in this way, it was hoped that the results identified would be specific to the eye. However, many experiments had been performed in vitro using cultured retinal or trabecular cells. These studies were included. To meet inclusion criteria, experimental work had to have a sound method with clear aims, stringent protocols, and a sufficiently substantial analysis together with details of numbers of subjects and appropriate statistical analysis if conducted. Significant variation was evident among the protocol deployed and the analytical techniques used even in literature pertaining to a similar topic. Bioavailability In common with other polyphenols, resveratrol has an extremely limited bioavailability. Although absorption is rapid 13 and the extent of absorption is at least 70  % in humans, 14 studies performed on rats 15 have shown that resveratrol undergoes rapid metabolism in the gut prior © Tou ch ME d ica l ME d ia 2013