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Malgorzata Goralska, Lloyd N. Fleisher, M. Christine McGahan; Vitreous Humor Changes Expression of Iron-Handling Proteins in Lens Epithelial Cells. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(2):1187-1195. doi: 10.1167/iovs.16-20610.
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In humans, vitrectomy is associated with development of nuclear cataracts. Iron catalyzes free radical formation causing oxidative damage, which is implicated in cataract formation. This study was designed to determine if vitreous humor, which can initiate differentiation of lens epithelial cells, would have an effect on iron-handling proteins.
Cultured canine lens epithelial cells were treated with collected canine vitreous humor. Lysates of treated and control cells were separated by SDS-PAGE. Ferritin H- and L-chains, transferrin receptor 1, and aquaporin 0 were immunodetected and quantitated with specific antibodies. Morphologic changes in treated cells were assessed.
Treatment of lens epithelial cells with a 33% (vol/vol) solution of vitreous humor changed the morphology of lens cells and induced expression of aquaporin 0, a marker of fiber cell differentiation that was undetectable in control cells. Treatment did not modify the size of iron-handling proteins but significantly increased content of ferritin from 2.9- to 8.8-fold over control and decreased levels of transferrin receptor by 37% to 59%.
Vitreous humor may significantly limit iron uptake by transferrin/transferrin receptor pathway, and by increasing ferritin levels could profoundly increase the iron-storage capacity of ferritin in lens cells. Vitreous humor may play a significant protective role against iron-catalyzed oxidative damage of lens epithelial cells and therefore in the formation of cataracts.
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