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Exp Eye Res. 2012 Jan;94(1):85-9. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2011.11.010. Epub 2011 Dec 6.

Effect of vitamin C depletion on UVR-B induced cataract in SMP30/GNL knockout mice.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Iwate Medical University, School of Medicine, Uchimaru 19-1, Morioka, Iwate 020-8505, Japan.


We investigated whether decreased vitamin C (VC) in a mouse model increases lens opacity (cataract) induced by in vivo exposure to ultraviolet radiation type B (UVR-B). Senescence marker protein-30 (SMP30) knockout (KO) mice, which cannot synthesize VC due to genetic disruption of the gluconolactonase (GNL) gene, were divided into 2 groups: VC sufficient (VC (+)) and VC deficient (VC (-)). Starting at 1 month of age, these groups had free access to water containing 0.0375 and 1.5 g/L of VC, respectively. SMP30 KO VC (-), SMP30 KO VC (+), and wild-type (WT) mice, all 14 weeks of age, were unilaterally exposed in vivo to UVR-B (200 mW/cm(2)) for 100 s twice a week for 3 weeks (total: 1200 mJ/cm(2)). At 48 h after the last UVR-B exposure, cataract morphology was documented, and the ratio of cataract induction was quantified as the cataract area ratio (opacity area/anterior capsule). UVR-B exposure induced cataract mainly at anterior sub-capsular in SMP30 KO VC (-), SMP30 KO VC (+), and WT mice. In SMP30 KO VC (-) lenses the opacities were more extensive than in SMP30 KO VC (+) or WT lenses (cataract area ratios: 59.3% ± 10% vs. 32.2% ± 11.7% or 29.0% ± 9.0%; P < 0.01). In conclusion, VC depletion may increase the susceptibility to develop UVR-B induced cataracts in mice unable to endogenously produce VC.

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