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Photochem Photobiol. 2002 Sep;76(3):368-72.

Role of xanthurenic acid 8-O-beta-D-glucoside, a novel fluorophore that accumulates in the brunescent human eye lens.

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  • 1Hyderabad Eye Research Foundation, L. V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, India.


We have been able to identify a blue fluorophore from the low-molecular weight soluble fraction of human adult nondiabetic brunescent cataract lenses as xanthurenic acid 8-O-beta-D-glucoside (XA8OG) (excitation = 338 nm and emission = 440 nm). To determine the role of this fluorophore in the lens, we have examined its photophysical and photodynamic properties. We found XA8OG to have a fluorescence quantum yield (phi) of 0.22 and a major emission lifetime of 12 ns. We found it to be a UVA-region sensitizer, capable of efficiently generating singlet oxygen species but little of superoxide. We also demonstrated that XA8OG oxidizes proteins when irradiated with UVA light, causing photodynamic covalent chemical damage to proteins. Its accumulation in the aging human lens (and the attendant decrease of its precursor O-beta-D-glucoside of 3-hydroxykynurenine) can, thus, add to the oxidative burden on the system. XA8OG, thus, appears to be an endogenous chromophore in the lens, which can act as a cataractogenic agent.

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