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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:787138. doi: 10.1155/2013/787138. Epub 2013 Sep 11.

Scopoletin inhibits rat aldose reductase activity and cataractogenesis in galactose-fed rats.

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Korean Medicine Based Herbal Drug Development Group, Herbal Medicine Research Division, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine (KIOM), 1672 Yuseongdaero, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-811, Republic of Korea.


Cataracts are a major cause of human blindness. Aldose reductase (AR) is an important rate-limiting enzyme that contributes to cataract induction in diabetic patients. Scopoletin is the main bioactive constituent of flower buds from Magnolia fargesii and is known to inhibit AR activity. To assess scopoletin's ability to mitigate sugar cataract formation in vivo, we studied its effects in a rat model of dietary galactose-induced sugar cataracts. Galactose-fed rats were orally dosed with scopoletin (10 or 50 mg/kg body weight) once a day for 2 weeks. Administering scopoletin delayed the progression of the cataracts that were induced by dietary galactose. Scopoletin also prevented galactose-induced changes in lens morphology, such as lens fiber swelling and membrane rupture. Scopoletin's protective effect against sugar cataracts was mediated by inhibiting both AR activity and oxidative stress. These results suggest that scopoletin is a useful treatment for sugar cataracts.

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