Rosmarinic Acid Restores Complete Transparency of Sonicated Human Cataract Ex Vivo and Delays Cataract Formation In Vivo.
Sci Rep. 2018 Jun 19 ;8(1):9341. Epub 2018 Jun 19. PMID: 29921877
Cataract, the leading cause of vision impairment worldwide, arises from abnormal aggregation of crystallin lens proteins. Presently, surgical removal is the only therapeutic approach. Recent findings have triggered renewed interest in development of non-surgical treatment alternatives. However, emerging treatments are yet to achieve full and consistent lens clearance. Here, the first ex vivo assay to screen for drug candidates that reduce human lenticular protein aggregation was developed. This assay allowed the identification of two leading compounds as facilitating the restoration of nearly-complete transparency of phacoemulsified cataractous preparation ex vivo. Mechanistic studies demonstrated that both compounds reduce cataract microparticle size and modify their amyloid-like features. In vivo studies confirmed that the lead compound, rosmarinic acid, delays cataract formation and reduces the severity of lens opacification in model rats. Thus, the ex vivo assay may provide an initial platform for broad screening of potential novel therapeutic agents towards pharmacological treatment of cataract.