Trehalose: an intriguing disaccharide with potential for medical application in ophthalmology.
Bottom Line: The sugar is widespread in many species of plants and animals, where its function appears to be to protect cells against desiccation, but is not found in mammals.Trehalose appears to be the most effective sugar for protection against desiccation.This interesting and unique disaccharide appears to have properties which may be exploited in ophthalmology and other disease states.
Affiliation: Thea Laboratories, Clermont-Ferrand.
Trehalose is a naturally occurring disaccharide comprised of two molecules of glucose. The sugar is widespread in many species of plants and animals, where its function appears to be to protect cells against desiccation, but is not found in mammals. Trehalose has the ability to protect cellular membranes and labile proteins against damage and denaturation as a result of desiccation and oxidative stress. Trehalose appears to be the most effective sugar for protection against desiccation. Although the exact mechanism by which trehalose protects labile macromolecules and lipid membranes is unknown, credible hypotheses do exist. As well as being used in large quantities in the food industry, trehalose is used in the biopharmaceutical preservation of labile protein drugs and in the cryopreservation of human cells. Trehalose is under investigation for a number of medical applications, including the treatment of Huntington's chorea and Alzheimer's disease. Recent studies have shown that trehalose can also prevent damage to mammalian eyes caused by desiccation and oxidative insult. These unique properties of trehalose have thus prompted its investigation as a component in treatment for dry eye syndrome. This interesting and unique disaccharide appears to have properties which may be exploited in ophthalmology and other disease states.
No MeSH data available.
Related in: MedlinePlus
Mentions: As the two above mentioned laboratory studies convincingly show, trehalose can confer desiccation tolerance to mammalian corneal cells, just as it does to cells of lower organisms. Therefore, it was interesting to investigate whether such a protective effect could also be demonstrated in vivo. This was evaluated in an experimental model of murine dry eye.22 Briefly, mice were exposed to controlled low-humidity airflow and temperature for 21 days. This resulted in a severe evaporative dry eye syndrome displaying biological and morphologic changes similar to those in humans. This dry eye environment appears to upregulate apoptosis on the ocular surface. Following exposure to the evaporative environment, the mice were randomized to receive topical administration of 30 mg/mL trehalose ophthalmic solution (Thealoz®, Laboratoires Théa, Clermont-Ferrand, France) or a phosphate-buffered saline control solution during a further 14 days’ exposure to the evaporative environment. Trehalose administration resulted in significant improvements on the ocular surface (cornea and conjunctiva), including reduction of corneal fluorescein staining area, decrease of ruffling and desquamating cells on the apical corneal epithelium, as well as a decrease in the number of apoptotic cells in the ocular surface epithelium when compared with controls, an effect comparable with that obtained in homologous mouse blood serum (Figure 2).23
No MeSH data available.