Authors W. Schalch, F. Roos and F. Barker artificially induced dry eye syndrome in female Sprague-Dawley rats by daily trans-dermal treatment with scopolamine. The animals were maintained on diets containing 0, 50 and 250 parts per million (ppm) of the isoflavone genistein (geniVida from DSM Nutritional Products) for four weeks. Another group received no scopolamine or genistein to serve as the control. The animals on 0 ppm genistein experienced a drastic reduction in tear volume and goblet cell density. Animals given genistein at 50 or 250 ppm had significantly improved tear volume and goblet cell density to values in the range of the non-treated controls. Plasma levels of genistein in the treated animals were in the range seen in human studies and thus have practical application.
The effects seen in this preclinical study appear to be due to increased tear volume and restored density of mucus-producing goblet cells. If these results could be confirmed in humans under less drastic situations, genistein supplementation could offer an effective systemic alternative to maintain healthy tear secretion and goblet cell density for a condition that currently is managed by palliative topical agents only. For further information: www.dsmnutritionalproducts.com