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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1996 Apr 16;221(2):422-9.

Stereospecific effects of R-lipoic acid on buthionine sulfoximine-induced cataract formation in newborn rats.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-3200, USA.


This study revealed a marked stereospecificity in the prevention of buthionine sulfoximine-induced cataract, and in the protection of lens antioxidants, in newborn rats by alpha-lipoate, R- and racemic alpha-lipoate decreased cataract formation from 100% (buthionine sulfoximine only) to 55% (buthionine sulfoximine + R-alpha-lipoic acid) and 40% (buthionine sulfoximine + rac-alpha-lipoic acid) (p<0.05 compared to buthionine sulfoximine only). S-alpha-lipoic acid had no effect on cataract formation induced by buthionine sulfoximine. The lens antioxidants glutathione, ascorbate, and vitamin E were depleted to 45, 62, and 23% of control levels, respectively, by buthionine sulfoximine treatment, but were maintained at 84-97% of control levels when R-alpha-lipoic acid or rac-alpha-lipoic acid were administered with buthionine sulfoximine; S-alpha-lipoic acid administration had no protective effect on lens antioxidants. When enantiomers of alpha-lipoic acid were administered to animals, R-alpha-lipoic acid was taken up by lens and reached concentrations 2- to 7-fold greater than those of S-alpha-lipoic acid, with rac-alpha-lipoic acid reaching levels midway between the R-isomer and racemic form. Reduced lipoic acid, dihydrolipoic acid, reached the highest levels in lens of the rac-alpha-lipoic acid-treated animals and the lowest levels in S-alpha-lipoic acid-treated animals. These results indicate that the protective effects of alpha-lipoic acid against buthionine sulfoximine-induced cataract are probably due to its protective effects on lens antioxidants, and that the stereospecificity exhibited is due to selective uptake and reduction of R-alpha-lipoic acid by lens cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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