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Patrick A. Scott, Henry J. Kaplan, Maureen A. McCall; Prenatal Exposure to Curcumin Protects Rod Photoreceptors in a Transgenic Pro23His Swine Model of Retinitis Pigmentosa. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2015;4(5):5. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.4.5.5.
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Rhodopsin localization and rod photoreceptor (PR) morphology is altered in embryonic transgenic (Tg) Pro23His (P23H) miniswine. At birth, the Tg P23H swine retina lacks rod driven signaling. Curcumin, a neuroprotective food additive, has been shown to rescue Tg P23H rat rod PRs and promote normal trafficking of rhodopsin. We tested the hypothesis that prenatal exposure to curcumin would prevent PR morphological changes in Tg P23H miniswine retinae.
A domestic sow was inseminated with semen from a Tg P23H miniswine founder. Her daily diet was supplemented with curcumin (100 mg/Kg body weight) from embryonic (E) day 80 to E112. The same diet without curcumin was fed to a second inseminated control sow. At E112, 2 days before parturition, both sows were euthanized. Their embryos were harvested, genotyped, and their eyes enucleated and prepared for morphological evaluation.
In all pigs, we measured mean outer retinal thickness, localization of rhodopsin, and rod PR morphology. Curcumin-treated Tg P23H swine embryonic retinas were similar to WT. Untreated Tg P23H embryonic retinas show significant degenerative effects; their outer retina was thinner, rod PR morphology was abnormal, and rhodopsin was mislocalized to the outer nuclear layer (ONL).
These data support a role for curcumin as a neuroprotective agent that prevents/delays morphological abnormalities associated with rod PR degeneration in this Tg P23H swine model of retinitis pigmentosa (RP).
Curcumin, a Food and Drug Administration–approved dietary supplement, may arrest/delay PR degeneration if ingested by individuals at risk for developing RP.
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