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Theodore O. Sippel; Changes in the water, protein, and glutathione contents of the lens in the course of galactose cataract development in rats. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1966;5(6):568-575.
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Four-week-old female rats fed a diet of ground chow diluted equally with galactose develop equatorial vacuoles in their lenses in 2 days and nuclear opacities in 12 to 14 days. By measurement of lens density, excessive hydration is detected by 12 hours after the diet is started. The glutathione level is significantly decreased after another 12 hours. The total protein content remains constant until nuclear cataracts appear, and then decreases to half. At this time the absolute water content, which had increased nearly threefold, also decreases but to a lesser extent; the cataract is thus highly hydrated. By the time vacuolization is only slightly advanced (3 days), nine tenths of the original glutathione has disappeared. The remainder persists through the subsequent stages of cataract development and probably resides in the proliferating epithelium and new lens fibers. The loss of glutathione is of unknown cause, may initially be a highly localized phenomenon, and is possibly related to previously reported changes in properties of lens proteins. Since osmotic vacuolization does not appear to be the immediate cause of nuclear opacification and subsequent membrane destruction, such protein changes may be of considerable importance
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