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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 1988 Aug;29(8):1312-9.

Exposure of rabbit lens to hyperbaric oxygen in vitro: regional effects on GSH level.

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Eye Research Institute of Oakland University, Rochester, MI 48309-4401.


Previous studies have indicated that in vivo exposure to hyperbaric O2 may be associated with the development of nuclear cataract. In the present work, in vitro effects of hyperbaric O2 on rabbit lenses were investigated following culture of the lenses in an atmosphere of 99% O2 at pressures ranging between 1 and 100 atm. Treatment with O2 resulted in a significant decrease in the level of reduced glutathione (GSH) in the lenses even at the lower pressures studied (less than 8 atm). At 100 atm O2 the loss of GSH was 85% after a 3 hr exposure. At 8 atm O2 a significant drop in GSH concentration was shown to occur in the lens nucleus prior to loss of the tripeptide in the superficial cortex. O2-treated lenses became hazy in appearance, especially at the higher pressures, but did not become densely opaque. Pressures of N2 up to 100 atm had no effect on either lens transparency or on the concentration of GSH. Although oxidized glutathione (GSSG) was detected in the whole lens at pressures of O2 as low as 4 atm, no change in GSH level or evidence for GSSG accumulation was observed in the capsule-epithelium of the lens at pressures as high as 50 atm O2. Ninety percent of the GSSG present in lenses after exposure to 100 atm O2 could be reconverted to GSH by subsequent culture of the lenses under normal conditions. Exposure of lenses to 50 atm O2 produced a three-fold stimulation of hexose monophosphate shunt activity, equal to that which has been reported for treatment of lenses with 0.06 mM H2O2.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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