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Biol Trace Elem Res. 2019 Jan;187(1):212-223. doi: 10.1007/s12011-018-1373-3. Epub 2018 May 13.

Zinc Supplementation Ameliorates Diabetic Cataract Through Modulation of Crystallin Proteins and Polyol Pathway in Experimental Rats.

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Department of Biochemistry, CSIR - Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore, 570 020, India.
Department of Biochemistry, CSIR - Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore, 570 020, India.


Non-enzymatic glycation of lens proteins and elevated polyol pathway in the eye lens have been the characteristic features of a diabetic condition. We have previously reported the benefits of zinc supplementation in reducing hyperglycemia and associated metabolic abnormalities and oxidative stress in diabetic rats. The current study explored whether zinc supplementation protects against cataractogenesis through modulation of glycation of lens proteins, elevated polyol pathway, oxidative stress, and proportion of different heat shock proteins in the eye lens of diabetic rats. Streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats were fed with a zinc-enriched diet (5 and 10 times of normal) for 6 weeks. Supplemental zinc alleviated the progression and maturation of diabetes-induced cataract. Zinc was also effective in preventing the reduced content of total and imbalanced proportion of soluble proteins in the lens. Supplemental zinc also alleviated cross-linked glycation and concomitant expression of the receptor of glycated products and oxidative stress indicators in the eye lens. Zinc supplementation further induced the concentration of heat shock protein in the eye lens of diabetic rats, specifically α-crystallin. Zinc supplementation counteracted the elevated activity and expression of polyol pathway enzymes and molecules in the lens. The results of this animal study endorsed the advantage of zinc supplementation in exerting the antiglycating influence and downregulating polyol pathway enzymes to defer cataractogenesis in diabetic rats.


Advanced glycation end products; Crystallin proteins; Diabetic cataract; Oxidative stress; Polyol pathway; Zinc supplementation

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