Compounds Similar to Broccoli Can Serve as a Potential Treatment for Macular Degeneration

Boosting the potency of broccoli-related compound indole-3-carbinol (I3C) ten-fold, proved to be a viable treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Boosting the potency of broccoli-related compound indole-3-carbinol (I3C) ten-fold, proved to be a viable treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

According to research published in Scientific Reports, I3C works to help clear cells of the environmental toxins by activating the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) protein, which upregulates pathways involved in chemical detoxification.

Prior research had shown AhR declines with age, but is vital for detoxifying the retina, and that AhR-deficient mice developed a condition highly similar to AMD.

Arvind Ramanathan, PhD, knew that while it was necessary to boost AhR, it would prove challenging as I3C was a weak activator of AhR.

As such, after completely a ‘virtual’ screen of a publicly-available database of compounds related to I3C but capable of binding to AhR, his team settled on 2,2?-aminophenyl indole (2AI) — 10 times more potent than I3C.

Ramanathan said in a news release, “2AI protected human retinal cells in culture from stress, and it also protected retinal cells in mice from light-mediated damage. We are very excited about the potential for 2AI and look forward to developing it further.”

According to Ramanathan, people would have had to eat an unreasonable amount of broccoli and other vegetables to gain enough of a protective effect to impact AMD, so this method allows them to find related molecules to provide therapeutic relief.

However, preliminary results showed that 2AI prevented cell death in the retinas of mice exposed to light stress. So experts aim to focus future research on the functional outcomes of treatment with 2AI, particularly since environmental stress is the major contributor to age-related vision loss.