Exp Neurobiol.  2021 Aug;30(4):308-317. 10.5607/en21011.

Attenuation of Experimental Autoimmune Uveitis in Lewis Rats by Betaine

  • 1College of Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Medical Research Institute, Jeju National University, Jeju 63243, Korea
  • 2Functional Biomaterials Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Jeongeup 56212, Korea
  • 3Department of Food Bioengineering, Jeju National University, Jeju 63243, Korea
  • 4Department of Animal Science, College of Life Science, Sangji University, Wonju 26339, Korea
  • 5Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Animal Behavior, College of Veterinary Medicine and BK21 Plus Project Team, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61186, Korea
  • 6Laboratory of Veterinary Molecular Pathology and Therapeutics, Division of Animal Life Science, Graduate School, Institute of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Tokyo 183-8509, Japan
  • 7Department of Anatomy, Kosin University College of Medicine, Busan 49267, Korea


Experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU) is an animal model of human autoimmune uveitis that is characterized by the infiltration of autoimmune T cells with concurrent increases in pro-inflammatory cytokines and reactive oxygen species. This study aimed to assess whether betaine regulates the progression of EAU in Lewis rats. EAU was induced via immunization with the interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (IRBP) and oral administration of either a vehicle or betaine (100 mg/kg) for 9 consecutive days. Spleens, blood, and retinas were sampled from the experimental rats at the time of sacrifice and used for the T cell proliferation assay, serological analysis, real-time polymerase chain reaction, and immunohistochemistry. The T cell proliferation assay revealed that betaine had little effect on the proliferation of splenic T cells against the IRBP antigen in an in vitro assay on day 9 post-immunization. The serological analysis showed that the level of serum superoxide dismutase increased in the betainetreated group compared with that in the vehicle-treated group. The anti-inflammatory effect of betaine was confirmed by the downregulation of pro-inflammation-related molecules, including vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 and interleukin-1β in the retinas of rats with EAU. The histopathological findings agreed with those of ionized calcium-binding adaptor molecule 1 immunohistochemistry, further verifying that inflammation in the retina and ciliary bodies was significantly suppressed in the betaine-treated group compared with the vehicle-treated group. Results of the present study suggest that betaine is involved in mitigating EAU through anti-oxidation and anti-inflammatory activities.


Anti-inflammation; Anti-oxidation; Betaine; Experimental autoimmune uveitis; Retina
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