'Capitalising on nature's wisdom'

Compound found naturally in broccoli gives rise to new, early-stage AMD treatment


A potential treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) drew inspiration from an eye health-boosting compound naturally found in broccoli.

Buck Institute researchers, including Dr Arvind Ramanathan, in California took this compound, known as indole-3-carbinol (I3C), and via a screening process, discovered a molecule that was 10 times more effective.

Dr Ramanathan explained: “You would have to eat an unreasonable amount of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables to get enough of a protective effect to impact AMD.”

The finding was published in a paper in the journal Scientific Reports.

I3C and its related compound, 2,2’-aminophenyl indole (2AI), activate one of the body’s ‘cleaning’ processes that helps detoxify the retina.

Dr Ramanathan’s team then put the 2AI compound through its paces, in studies mimicking AMD.

He highlighted that: “2AI protected human retinal cells in culture from stress. 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.

“This method allows us to capitalise on nature’s wisdom to find related molecules that can deliver therapeutic benefit,” Dr Ramanathan emphasised.

He said that one interesting finding from the research was that 2AI increased levels of omega-7 levels in the eye. The fat, found in nuts, fish and vegetable oils, was already known to have a protective effect on the retina.

Fellow paper author, Dr Deepak Lamba, said: “Our next step is to study the functional outcomes of treatment with 2AI.”