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Cell Biochem Funct. 2011 Apr;29(3):183-206. doi: 10.1002/cbf.1737. Epub 2011 Mar 7.

Mitochondria induce oxidative stress, generation of reactive oxygen species and redox state unbalance of the eye lens leading to human cataract formation: disruption of redox lens organization by phospholipid hydroperoxides as a common basis for cataract disease.

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Innovative Vision Products, Inc., County of New Castle, Delaware, USA.


The aging eye appears to be at considerable risk from oxidative stress. Lipid peroxidation (LPO) is one of the mechanisms of cataractogenesis, initiated by enhanced promotion of oxygen free radicals in the eye fluids and tissues and impaired enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant defenses of the crystalline lens. The present study proposes that mitochondria are one of the major sources of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in mammalian and human lens epithelial cells and that therapies that protect mitochondria in lens epithelial cells from damage and reduce damaging ROS generation may potentially ameliorate the effects of free radical-induced oxidation that occur in aging ocular tissues and in human cataract diseases. It has been found that rather than complete removal of oxidants by the high levels of protective enzyme activities such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, lipid peroxidases in transparent lenses, the lens conversely, possess a balance between peroxidants and antioxidants in a way that normal lens tends to generate oxidants diffusing from lenticular tissues, shifting the redox status of the lens to become more oxidizing during both morphogenesis and aging. Release of the oxidants (O(2)(-)·, H(2)O(2) , OH·, and lipid hydroperoxides) by the intact lenses in the absence of respiratory inhibitors indicates that these metabolites are normal physiological products inversely related to the lens life-span potential (maturity of cataract) generated through the metal-ion catalyzed redox-coupled pro-oxidant activation of the lens reductants (ascorbic acid, glutathione). The membrane-bound phospholipid (PL) hydroperoxides escape detoxification by the lens enzymatic reduction. The lens cells containing these species would be vulnerable to peroxidative attack which trigger the PL hydroperoxide-dependent chain propagation of LPO and other damages in membrane (lipid and protein alterations). The increased concentrations of primary LPO products (diene conjugates, lipid hydroperoxides) and end fluorescent LPO products were detected in the lipid moiety of the aqueous humor samples obtained from patients with cataract as compared to normal donors. Since LPO is clinically important in many of the pathological effects and aging, new therapeutic modalities, such as patented N-acetylcarnosine prodrug lubricant eye drops, should treat the incessant infliction of damage to the lens cells and biomolecules by reactive lipid peroxides and oxygen species and "refashion" the affected lens membranes in the lack of important metabolic detoxification of PL peroxides. Combined in ophthalmic formulations with N-acetylcarnosine, mitochondria-targeted antioxidants are promising to become investigated as a potential tool for treating a number of ROS-related ocular diseases, including human cataracts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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