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Ophthalmic Res. 2014;51(3):124-8. doi: 10.1159/000356399. Epub 2014 Jan 18.

DNA damage in lens epithelial cells and peripheral lymphocytes from age-related cataract patients.

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  • 1Eye Institute, Affiliated Hospital of Nantong University, Nantong, China.



Oxidative DNA damage may be one of the etiologies of age-related cataract (ARC). We quantified DNA damage in lens epithelial cells (LECs) and peripheral blood lymphocytes of ARC.


A total of 64 patients with different types of ARC and 23 control subjects were enrolled. Fresh LECs and peripheral lymphocytes were collected and DNA damage was evaluated by alkaline comet assay. The percentage of DNA in the tail of comets (%Tail DNA) and the olive tail moment (OTM) were calculated by CASP software.


The results showed the %Tail DNA and OTM in LECs and lymphocytes in the overall cataract patient group were significantly higher than those in the control subjects. The %Tail DNA and OTM of LECs and lymphocytes showed no differences among cortical, nuclear and posterior subcapsular cataracts. The %Tail DNA and OTM in LECs were significantly lower than those in lymphocytes but a significant correlation of the DNA damage was found between them.


We concluded that DNA damage in lens and peripheral blood lymphocytes increased in ARC. The results imply that local and systemic oxidative DNA damage might play certain roles in ARC pathogenesis.

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