On Thursday, May 6, 2010, a new study conducted at Salus University was presented at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting in Fort Lauderdale which suggests that the isoflavone genistein may restore tear production that is diminished in dry eye syndrome. In the first preclinical study to report an effect of genistein on dry-eye syndrome, authors W. Schalch, F. Roos and F. Barker artificially induced dry eye syndrome in female Sprague-Dawley rats by daily trans-dermal treatment with scopolamine. The animals were maintained on diets containing 0, 50 and 250 parts per million (ppm) of the isoflavone genistein (geniVida®) for 4 weeks. Another group received no scopolamine or genistein to serve as the control. The animals on 0 ppm genistein experienced a drastic reduction in tear volume and goblet cell density. Animals given genistein at 50 or 250 ppm had significantly improved tear volume and goblet cell density to values in the range of the non-treated controls. Plasma levels of genistein in the treated animals were in the range seen in human studies and thus have practical application.
Dry Eye Syndrome is a progressive ocular surface disease characterized by decreased tear gland secretion, altered tear composition, tear film instability and ocular surface inflammation. The condition is more prevalent in women than in men, and androgen-estrogen imbalances are among the hypothesized pathogenic factors. More than 20 million Americans suffer from the discomfort of dry eye syndrome that is regarded as one of the most frustrating problems in daily ophthalmic practice.
The effects seen in this preclinical study appear to be due to increased tear volume and restored density of mucus-producing goblet cells. If these results could be confirmed in humans under less drastic situations, genistein supplementation could offer an effective systemic alternative to maintain healthy tear secretion and goblet cell density for a condition that currently is managed by palliative topical agents only.This study was supported by DSM Nutritional Products Ltd which produces and supplied the geniVida®.
geniVida is registered trademark of DSM.
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