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Effects of Cistanche deserticola on behavior and signs of cataract and retinopathy in senescence-accelerated OXYS rats

Stefanova, Natalia A., Fursova, Anzhela Zh., Sarsenbaev, Kanat N., Kolosova, Nataliya G.
Journal of ethnopharmacology 2011 v.138 no.2 pp. 624-632
Cistanche, Oxalis, animal behavior, anxiety, body weight, cataract, decline, homeostasis, medicine, memory, rats, retinal diseases, vasodilator agents
ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Cistanche deserticola (СD) has been traditionally used in the Chinese medicine as a tonic, vasodilator and neuroprotective agent. AIM OF THE STUDY: To investigate the effect of CD on the age-related behavior decline and cataract and retinopathy development in senescent accelerated OXYS rats. MATERIALS AND METHODS: OXYS and Wistar (control) rats were supplemented with 15mg CD on kg of body weight during 2months from the age of 12 months. Behavioral responses of animals were assessed in the elevated plus-maze (EPM), open field (OF) and in a Morris water maze (MWM). Before and after CD treatment OXYS rats were examined by an ophthalmologist. RESULTS: 14-month-old OXYS rats had demonstrated considerably reduced activities in OF, increased anxiety in EPM, and manifestly impaired learning abilities in the MWM as compared to Wistar rats. Supplementation of CD had no effect on motor and exploratory activity of Wistar and OXYS rats in the OF, but it reduced their anxiety in the EPM compared to age-matched controls. CD significantly improved visual ability of the rats, reducing the severity of the developed signs of retinopathy and cataract while having no impact on OXYS rats’ spatial memory in the MWM. CD-treated Wistar rats exhibited slower learning ability in the MWM task comparison to the control group. The effect of CD on the learning ability in OXYS and Wistar rats may be associated with differences in their redox homeostasis. CONCLUSION: All in all, the findings suggest that CD improves the age-related behavioral decline, which makes it an attractive candidate for treatment of various neurodegenerative disorders. Primarily it demonstrated its ability to slow development and to reduce to some extent severity of pathological manifestations of cataract and retinopathy in OXYS rats, which makes it an attractive candidate for treatment of age-related eye diseases too.