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October 2021

Ophthalmologe. 1997 Feb; 94(2): 152-6.

[Inhibition of neovascularization of the eye by dietary factors exemplified by isoflavonoids]

Kruse FE, Joussen AM, Fotsis T, Schweigerer L, Rohrschneider K, Völcker HE.

Augenklinik, Universitt Heidelberg.

Chronic malignant diseases with neovascularization sometimes seem to improve when an exclusively plant-based diet is followed. In order to identify antiangiogenic substances in such diets, inhibitory factors such as genistein were isolated. We investigated the antiangiogenic substance genistein with regard to the possibility of an inhibitory effect on corneal angiogenesis in vivo. METHODS: Corneal neovascularization was experimentally induced in NZW rabbits by the use of methylcellulose discs loaded with 250 ng basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). Blood vessels grew from the limbus towards the pellet and were quantified under the microscope. Genistein was injected subconjunctivally (0.04 mg genistein/day). RESULTS: All eyes which received genistein subconjunctivally showed a statistically significant reduction of blood vessels at the limbus (from 63 +/- 40 vessels to 36 +/- 11 vessels; P = 0.001). Vascularized areas in the eyes treated with genistein also decreased, from 21.4 +/- 6.7 mm2 to 10.4 +/- 5.0 mm2 (P < 0.0001). CONCLUSION: Our results show that components of a plant-based diet, such as genistein, inhibit ocular neovascularization in vivo. The genistein level rises significantly in human urine following ingestion of soy products, for example. Therefore, certain vegetarian diets could have a positive effect on ocular diseases characterized by progressive neovascularization.

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