A new $1.8 million grant from the National Eye Institute has been provided to assist doctors in maintaining healthy free radical levels using the thioredoxin system in patients with diabetes to save sight.
The cycle that researchers are trying to break is the high glucose levels of the disease that cause inflammation that go on to generate free radicals that cause further inflammation producing even more free radicals. The radicals start to destroy cells when in unhealthy levels and start to break down cells and DNA. The damage they cause is accumulative and creates a dangerous cycle.
The Thioredoxin system helps to keep these free radicals in check by destroying the excess but as we age the cycle slows and diabetes quickens the process.
Over time our eyes become overwhelmed and the system destroys blood vessels that provide nutrients to keep them healthy. The eyes will try and grow new vessels but they grow fragile and often misplaced which long term destroys sight and vision.
Doctors are saying that a selenium supplement could give the thioredoxin system ammunition to remain effective and they want to better understand how the system works, exactly what happens to thioredoxin reductase and whether supplements of selenium can help the natural antioxidant system work better in diabetes.