An article published on June 14, 2016 in Scientific Reports discusses
the finding of Buck Institute for Research on Aging scientists of a
possible role for a compound related to indole-3-carbinol (I3C) in
preventing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common cause of
Indole-3-carbinol, found in broccoli and related vegetables, is a weak
activator of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor protein, which helps clear
environmental toxins in the retina. Mice that are deficient in the aryl
hydrocarbon receptor develop a condition similar to age-related macular
degeneration. Acting on the knowledge of a protective effect for I3C
against the disease, Arvind Ramanathan, PhD, and colleagues sought a
The team identified 2,2-aminophenyl indole (2AI), which has ten times
more potency than I3C. "2AI protected human retinal cells in culture
from stress," Dr Ramanathan reported. "And 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."
"You would have to eat an unreasonable amount of broccoli and other
cruciferous vegetables to get enough of a protective effect to impact
AMD," he added. "This method allows us to capitalize on nature's wisdom
to find related molecules that can deliver therapeutic benefit."
Dr Ramanathan and colleagues also discovered that 2AI increased the
levels of the omega-7 fatty acid known as palmitoleic acid.
Administration of palmitic acid to cultured retinal cells and mice was
associated with a protective benefit.
"2AI prevented cell death in the retinas of mice that were exposed to
light stress," concluded co-senior author Deepak Lamba, MBBS, PhD. "Our
next step is to study the functional outcomes of treatment with 2AI,
something I am eager to do because environmental stress is the major
contributor to age-related vision loss."