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Scientific evidence supports effectiveness of Chinese drug for cataracts

Date:
January 18, 2011
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Scientists are reporting a scientific basis for the long-standing belief that a widely used non-prescription drug in China and certain other countries can prevent and treat cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye that is a leading cause of vision loss worldwide.

Eye with cataract. Scientists are reporting a scientific basis for the long-standing belief that a widely used non-prescription drug in China and certain other countries can prevent and treat cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye that is a leading cause of vision loss worldwide.
Credit: iStockphoto/Micheline Dubé

Scientists are reporting a scientific basis for the long-standing belief that a widely used non-prescription drug in China and certain other countries can prevent and treat cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye that is a leading cause of vision loss worldwide.

Their study appears in Inorganic Chemistry.

In the study, Tzu-Hua Wu, Fu-Yung Huang, Shih-Hsiung Wu and colleagues note that eye drops containing pirenoxine, or PRX, have been reputed as a cataract remedy for almost 60 years. Currently, the only treatment for cataracts in Western medicine is surgical replacement of the lens, the clear disc-like structure inside the eye that focuses light onto the nerve tissue in the back of the eye. Despite the wide use of pirenoxine, there have been few scientific studies on its actual effects, the scientists note.

To fill that gap, the scientists tested pirenoxine on cloudy solutions that mimic the chemical composition of the eye lens of cataract patients. The solutions contained crystallin -- a common lens protein -- combined with either calcium or selenite, two minerals whose increased levels appear to play key roles in the development of cataracts. Presence of PRX reduced the cloudiness of the lens solution containing calcium by 38 percent and reduced the cloudiness of the selenite solution by 11 percent. "These results may provide a rationale for using PRX as an anti-cataract agent and warrant further biological studies," the article notes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jiahn-Haur Liao, Chien-Sheng Chen, Chao-Chien Hu, Wei-Ting Chen, Shao-Pin Wang, I-Lin Lin, Yi-Han Huang, Ming-Hsuan Tsai, Tzu-Hua Wu, Fu-Yung Huang, Shih-Hsiung Wu. Ditopic Complexation of Selenite Anions or Calcium Cations by Pirenoxine: An Implication for Anti-Cataractogenesis. Inorganic Chemistry, 2011; 50 (1): 365 DOI: 10.1021/ic102151p

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Scientific evidence supports effectiveness of Chinese drug for cataracts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110112132140.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2011, January 18). Scientific evidence supports effectiveness of Chinese drug for cataracts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110112132140.htm
American Chemical Society. "Scientific evidence supports effectiveness of Chinese drug for cataracts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110112132140.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

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