Effect of Lycium Barbarum (Wolfberry) Polysaccharides on preserving retinal function after partial optic nerve transection

Patrick H.W. Chu, Hong Ying Li, Man Pan Chin, Kwok Fai So, Ho Lung Henry Chan

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38 Citations (Scopus)


Lycium Barbarum Polysaccharides (LBP) are the active components of Wolfberry (a traditional Chinese medicine) which has long been used for improving visual function. This study aims to investigate localized changes of retinal function in a partial optic nerve transection (PONT) model, and effects of LBP on visual function. The multifocal electroretinograms (mfERG) were obtained from 30 eyes of 30 Sprague-Dawley rats. The rats were divided into 6 groups (five treatment groups and one control group). Starting from the first day of the experiment, the rats in the (PONT+LBP) group and the (LBP) group were dosed with LBP; rats in the (PONT+ PBS (phosphate buffered saline)) group and the (PBS) group were dosed with PBS via nasogastric tube every day until euthanized. The dorsal part of the optic nerve was transected in the (PONT), (PONT+LBP) and (PONT+PBS) groups at the end of week 1 (day 7 after LBP or PBS feeding began). The mfERG was measured at three time points: week 2, week 3 and week 5. Significant reduction of P1 and PhNR amplitudes of the mfERG were observed in all retinal regions a week after PONT. Feeding with LBP prior to PONT preserved retinal function. All mfERG responses returned to the normal range in the superior retina, which corresponds to the transected dorsal region of the optic nerve, while most of the inferior retinal responses were significantly increased at week 4 after PONT. The ventral part of the retina had secondary degeneration which was not only limited to the ganglion cell layer, but is a widespread effect affecting the outer retina. LBP altered the functional reduction caused by PONT by regulating the signal from the outer retina.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere81339
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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