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Exp Eye Res. 1990 Sep;51(3):241-7.

Modelling cortical cataractogenesis. XI. Vitamin C reduces gamma-crystallin leakage from lenses in diabetic rats.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.


Normal and streptozotocin diabetic female Wistar rats were given vitamin C (VC) at 0.3% or 1.0% (w/w) in the diet: 1% dietary VC resulted, in 12-24 hr, in significant increases in serum ascorbate levels and lens ascorbate concentrations in normal rats. The increase was biphasic, with VC concentrations falling to a lower level which was still significantly elevated compared to controls in the period of 1.7-4 days for serum and 1.7-5 days for lenticular VC. At the end of 10 weeks the rats were examined for weight gain or loss, general body condition and cataracts. At the time of killing, blood was collected for measurement of serum glucose. Alpha-crystallin levels were determined in vitreous and aqueous humours using a radioimmunoassay. One lens from each rat was fixed for either scanning electron microscopy or light microscopy; the other lens was homogenized in 8 M guanidinium chloride for adenosine triphosphate analysis. In normal rats, a small amount of gamma-crystallin was found in the vitreous humour, and an even smaller amount in the aqueous humour. Diabetes caused a five-fold increase in the vitreous humour and a 2.5-fold increase in gamma-crystallin in the aqueous humour. Diabetes also led to a significant worsening in general body condition, loss of body weight, formation of cataracts, and decrease in lens adenosine triphosphate levels. Addition of VC to the diet of diabetic animals resulted in reduction in cataracts and a decrease of gamma-crystallin leakage into the aqueous and vitreous humours. VC had no effect on lens adenosine triphosphate levels.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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