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Fast findings

Compound in Asian fruit may fight retinal disease

October 21, 2014

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The mangosteen, an exotic tropical fruit, may contain a compound helpful for treating abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina, say VA researchers. (Photo: ©iStock/szefei)

The mangosteen, an exotic tropical fruit, may contain a compound helpful for treating abnormal blood vessel growth in the retina, say VA researchers. (Photo: ©iStock/szefei)

The mangosteen—no relation to the mango—is a tropical fruit, grown mainly in Asia, that has a long history of use in folk medicine. Scientists have recently begun tapping into this knowledge, and now an international team including a VA researcher has found that a compound in the fruit may help combat a dangerous eye condition.

In lab studies, the team, from Georgia Regents University, Mahidol University in Thailand, andthe Augusta (Ga.) VA Medical Center, found that a compound in the fruit limits the abnormal growth of tiny blood vessels in the retina. The vessels can leak blood into the retina and disturb function, sometimes causing vision loss. The condition occurs as a complication of diabetes or as the result of a blockage to the main vein in the retina.

The compound, alpha-mangostin, is one of several beneficial phytochemicals called xanthones that are found in the mangosteen. In other lab research, the natural antioxidants have been shown to have anti-tumor, anti-viral, and other health effects.

Study coauthor Dr. Ruth Caldwell, in addition to her VA role, is with the Vision Discovery Institute at Georgia Regents. (Microvascular Research, May 2014)






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