Researchers at the University of Catania in Italy found that at least in tissue culture carnosine prevents the formation of cataract protein clumps.
In the new study, Enrico Rizzarelli and colleagues note that the only effective treatment for cataracts is surgical replacement of the lens, the clear disc-like structure inside the eye that focuses light on the nerve tissue in the back of the eye. Cataracts develop when the main structural protein in the lens, alpha-crystallin, forms abnormal clumps. The clumps make the lens cloudy and impair vision. Previous studies hinted that carnosine may help block the formation of these clumps.
The scientists exposed tissue cultures of healthy rat lenses to either guanidine — a substance known to form cataracts — or a combination of guanidine and carnosine. The guanidine lenses became completely cloudy, while the guanidine/carnosine lenses developed 50 to 60 percent less cloudiness. Carnosine also restored most of the clarity to clouded lenses. The results demonstrate the potential of using carnosine for preventing and treating cataracts, the scientists say.
The key question: can supplementation increase carnosine concentration in vivo (in your body) around the eye lens enough to slow or prevent the development of cataracts? A lot of biochemicals have regulatory mechanisms that control their concentration ranges in in the body. Take too much and the chemical gets broken down or excreted or shifted to other parts of the body.
One also wonders whether carnosine in eye drops would help.
What I also wonder: Suppose scientists succeed in developing ways to grow replacement lenses in laboratories. Can implanted lenses work as well as original lenses? Do they anchor well?
We also need stem cell therapies to rejuvenate muscles around the eye. I expect such cell therapies to reduce the need for reading glasses as stronger eye muscles improve our ability to focus.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2009 July 19 11:27 PM Aging Diet Eye Studies|