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Endocrine. 2014 Aug;46(3):462-9. doi: 10.1007/s12020-013-0085-x. Epub 2013 Nov 28.

Extract of Litsea japonica ameliorates blood-retinal barrier breakdown in db/db mice.

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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, South Korea.


Loss of blood-retinal barrier (BRB) properties is an important feature in the pathology of diabetic retinopathy. Endothelium integrity is important for the normal vascular function. Litsea japonica (Thunb.) Jussieu is a Korean native plant that is consumed as a vegetable food. In this study, we evaluated the ability of an ethanol extract of L. japonica to prevent retinal vascular leakages in db/db mice, which is an animal model of type II diabetes. L. japonica extracts (LJE, 100 and 250 mg/kg) were administered once a day, orally, for 12 weeks. Vehicle-treated db/db mice exhibited hyperglycemia and retinal vascular leakage. LJE treatment blocked diabetes-induced BRB breakdown and decreased retinal VEGF expression in db/db mice. LJE also inhibited the degradation of occludin, which is an important tight junction protein. These findings support the potential therapeutic usefulness of L. japonica for retinal vascular permeability diseases.

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