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Life Sci. 2003 Oct 3;73(20):2557-70.

Redox changes precede the occurrence of oxidative stress in eyes and aorta, but not in kidneys of diabetic rats.

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School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China.


Almost all diabetic complications are known to be associated with vascular dysfunctions of different tissues. Oxidative stress, on the other hand, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus. Therefore in the present study we have investigated the correlation between redox status and oxidative stress in the eyes, aorta and kidneys of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. Glutathione (GSH), the primary endogenous antioxidant, and malondialdehyde (MDA), a marker of oxidative stress, were measured in these tissues of diabetic rats at different time points after STZ injection. Our results showed that GSH was reduced significantly in both the eyes and aorta of diabetic rats 8 weeks after STZ injection (43% and 66% of the control, respectively). Furthermore, the depletion of GSH occurred from the first week after STZ injection, and the level remained low as compared with the control rats (both week 1 and week 8: 43% and 66% of the control in the eyes and aorta, respectively). MDA was not increased until week 8 onwards after STZ-injection (177% and 93% of the control in the eyes and aorta, respectively). These changes, however, were not found in the kidneys, in which the GSH was slightly increased and MDA remained comparable to the control rats. These results indicate different tissues respond differently to high glucose conditions as redox changes and oxidative stress occurred only in the eyes and aorta but not in the kidneys of diabetic rats. In addition, the onset of oxidative stress is preceded by a depletion of GSH and probably an exhaustion of the antioxidant defense system. Furthermore, administration of Vitamin E was found to normalize MDA levels in the eyes and aorta but not in the kidneys of diabetic rats. In summary, our results suggest that the underlying mechanism in developing diabetic complications in the eyes and aorta involves the occurrence of oxidative stress, which may not be the case in diabetic kidneys. In addition, Vitamin E may prevent the development of diabetic complications in the eyes and aorta by reducing lipid peroxidation and oxidative damage in the cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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