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M. Francis Simpanya, Rafat R. Ansari, Kwang I. Suh, Victor R. Leverenz, Frank J. Giblin; Aggregation of Lens Crystallins in an In Vivo Hyperbaric Oxygen Guinea Pig Model of Nuclear Cataract: Dynamic Light-Scattering and HPLC Analysis. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2005;46(12):4641-4651. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.05-0843.
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purpose. The role of oxygen in the formation of lens high-molecular-weight (HMW) protein aggregates during the development of human nuclear cataract is not well understood. The purpose of this study was to investigate lens crystallin aggregate formation in hyperbaric oxygen (HBO)–treated guinea pigs by using in vivo and in vitro methods.
methods. Guinea pigs were treated three times weekly for 7 months with HBO, and lens crystallin aggregation was investigated in vivo with the use of dynamic light-scattering (DLS) and in vitro by HPLC analysis of water-insoluble (WI) proteins. DLS measurements were made every 0.1 mm across the 4.5- to 5.0-mm optical axis of the guinea pig lens.
results. The average apparent diameter of proteins in the nucleus (the central region) of lenses of HBO-treated animals was nearly twice that of the control animals (P < 0.001). Size distribution analysis conducted at one selected point in the nucleus and cortex (the outer periphery of the lens) after dividing the proteins into small-diameter and large-diameter groups, showed in the O2-treated nucleus a threefold increase in intensity (P < 0.001) and a doubling in apparent size (P = 0.03) of large-diameter aggregate proteins, compared with the same control group. No significant changes in apparent protein diameter were detected in the O2-treated cortex, compared with the control. The average diameter of protein aggregates at the single selected location in the O2-treated nucleus was estimated to be 150 nm, a size capable of scattering light and similar to the size of aggregates found in human nuclear cataracts. HPLC analysis indicated that one half of the experimental nuclear WI protein fraction (that had been dissolved in guanidine) consisted of disulfide cross-linked 150- to 1000-kDa aggregates, not present in the control. HPLC-isolated aggregates contained αA-, β-, γ-, and ζ-crystallins, but not αB-crystallin, which is devoid of −SH groups and thus does not participate in disulfide cross-linking. All ζ-crystallin present in the nuclear WI fraction appeared to be there as a result of disulfide cross-linking.
conclusions. The results indicate that molecular oxygen in vivo can induce the cross-linking of guinea pig lens nuclear crystallins into large disulfide-bonded aggregates capable of scattering light. A similar process may be involved in the formation of human nuclear cataract.
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