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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1991 Jun;32(7):2130-5.

5 alpha-dihydrocortisol in human aqueous humor and metabolism of cortisol by human lenses in vitro.

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Department of Ophthalmology, New York Medical College, Valhalla 10595.


Glucocorticoids have long been implicated in the etiology of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and cataract. Cortisol metabolites have biologic activity and may affect aqueous humor dynamics. This study was done to determine whether these metabolites are found in human aqueous humor and can be produced by ocular tissues. Radioimmunoassays (RIA) were developed for 5 alpha-dihydrocortisol (5 alpha-DHF) and 5 beta-dihydrocortisol (5 beta-DHF). These assays, as well as a cortisol RIA, were used to quantify these three steroids in 20 surgically derived aqueous humor specimens from patients with and without POAG. The mean concentrations of cortisol and 5 alpha-DHF were 2.5 and 1.3 ng/ml, respectively. In the small group studied, there was no statistically significant difference between the aqueous humor steroid levels in patients with and without POAG. The amount of 5 beta-DHF was at the lower limits of detection of the assay system and could not be uniquivocally shown. Human lenses metabolized cortisol in vitro to 5 alpha-DHF and 3 alpha,5 alpha-tetrahydrocortisol (3 alpha,5 alpha-THF). There was no 5 beta-DHF or cortisone formed. The 5 alpha-DHF and 3 alpha,5 alpha-THF were identified by their positions on thin-layer chromatography, their retention times on high-performance liquid chromatography, and recrystallization with authentic standards to constant specific activity. The data suggest that the lens is the source of 5 alpha-DHF in aqueous humor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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