Effects of SkQ on cataract and retinopathies
in OXYS rats

N.G. Kolosova, A.Zh. Fursova, M. Markovets,
Yu.V. Rumyantseva, N.A. Stefanova
Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts are common causes of blindness in the elderly. The number of persons with vision loss from AMD is expected to increase dramatically during the next few decades. Cataract remains the most common successfully treated by surgery of blindness but has a large impact on healthcare budget. Some pieces of evidence suggest a stimulating effect of cataract surgery on the progression of early AMD. Therefore, creation of effective anticataract therapeutic and prophylactic agents is greatly needed. We found that senescence-accelerated OXYS rats are useful animal model for study of pathogenesis and design of new therapeutic targets of AMD and cataract since it reproduces the clinical and morphological manifestation of pathologies and positively responses to standard therapies. Development of retinopathy in OXYS rats, like humans, is associated with changes in gene expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF, an angiogenic factor) and pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF, an antiangiogenic factor). VEGF and PEDF are produced by retinal pigmented epithelial cells (RPE) and play critical role in vascular homeostasis in retina. Cataracts development in OXYS rats, again like in humans, is associated with reduced expression genes of ?-crystallins in the lens epithelium. Using OXYS rats, we have conducted a study on therapeutic potential of mitochondria-targeted antioxidant SkQ1 for treatment of cataract and AMD. According to our data, addition of SkQ1 to the food completely prevents development of cataract and retinopathy in OXYS rats as well as decelerates the age-dependent decline of the immune system. SkQl is effective also in the drops being competent not only in preventing but also in reversal of already developed pathological changes of retina and lens in OXYS rats. SkQ1 effects were associated with improvement of gene expression: ?-crystallins in the epithelial cells of lens and VEGF in RPE. Action of SkQ1 was accompanied with preservation of intact structure of choroidal vessels and retinal pigment epithelium in OXYS rats.

Homo Sapiens Liberatus Workshop, Moscow State University, May 2010