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Journal of Ophthalmology
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 1917093, 6 pages
Research Article

Propolis, a Constituent of Honey, Inhibits the Development of Sugar Cataracts and High-Glucose-Induced Reactive Oxygen Species in Rat Lenses

1Department of Ophthalmology, Kanazawa Medical University, Ishikawa 920-0293, Japan
2Department of Oncogenic Pathology, Kanazawa Medical University, Ishikawa 920-0293, Japan
3Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE 68198-5540, USA

Received 4 March 2016; Accepted 19 April 2016

Academic Editor: Jesús Pintor

Copyright © 2016 Teppei Shibata et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. This study investigated the effects of oral propolis on the progression of galactose-induced sugar cataracts in rats and the in vitro effects of propolis on high-glucose-induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cell death in cultured rat lens cells (RLECs). Methods. Galactose-fed rats and RLECs cultured in high glucose (55 mM) medium were treated with propolis or vehicle control. Relative lens opacity was assessed by densitometry and changes in lens morphology by histochemical analysis. Intracellular ROS levels and cell viability were measured. Results. Oral administration of propolis significantly inhibited the onset and progression of cataract in 15% and 25% of galactose-fed rats, respectively. RLECs cultured with high glucose showed a significant increase in ROS expression with reduced cell viability. Treatment of these RLECs with 5 and 50 μg/mL propolis cultured significantly reduced ROS levels and increased cell viability, indicating that the antioxidant activity of propolis protected cells against ROS-induced damage. Conclusion. Propolis significantly inhibited the onset and progression of sugar cataract in rats and mitigated high-glucose-induced ROS production and cell death. These effects may be associated with the ability of propolis to inhibit hyperglycemia-evoked oxidative or osmotic stress-induced cellular insults.