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Exp Eye Res. 1991 Aug;53(2):205-12.

Age-related cysteine uptake as rate-limiting in glutathione synthesis and glutathione half-life in the cultured human lens.

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Ophthalmology Department, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455.


The study included human lenses of ages ranging from newborn to 92 years. Protein-free reduced glutathione decreased 14-fold, whereas protein-free oxidized glutathione increased 2.6-fold with increasing age. L-Cyst(e)ine uptake g-1 lens of very old cultured lenses decreased 70% from that exhibited in newborn lenses, demonstrating a marked decline of L-cyst(e)ine uptake as a function of age. In these same lenses the synthesis of reduced glutathione (mumol g-1 lens) decreased 73% with age. It was concluded that the glutathione decrease observed in the aging human lens was associated with decreased uptake of L-cyst(e)ine, decreased glutathione synthesis and possibly an increase in protein-free oxidized glutathione. The high correlation of L-cyst(e)ine uptake and glutathione synthesis supports the hypothesis that L-cyst(e)ine uptake is a rate-limiting factor of glutathione synthesis in the intact human lens. By the use of buthionine sulfoximine, the half-life of glutathione was estimated to be 90 hr in the cultured human lens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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