March 1981
Volume 20, Issue 3
Articles  |   March 1981
The sorbitol pathway in the human lens: aldose reductase and polyol dehydrogenase.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science March 1981, Vol.20, 314-326. doi:
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      J A Jedziniak, L T Chylack, H M Cheng, M K Gillis, A A Kalustian, W H Tung; The sorbitol pathway in the human lens: aldose reductase and polyol dehydrogenase.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1981;20(3):314-326.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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The sorbitol pathway in human lenses is evaluated on the enzymic level. Adult lenses, normal and nondiabetic as well as diabetic cataracts, are found to contain limited levels of aldose reductase (AR) and high levels of polyol dehydrogenase (PD) relative to the animal lens. AR is confined primarily to the lens epithelium and is two to three times higher in juvenile lenses than in the adult lens. The level of AR in the epithelium of juvenile lenses is sufficient to cause significant osmotic stress. The Km of glucose of AR is roughly 200 mM, whereas the Km for NADPH is 0.06 mM. NADP inhibits human lens AR noncompetitively and has a Ki equivalent to the Km for NADPH. PD occurs in both the lens epithelium and cortex, remains persistently high with age, and decreases with increased cortical involvement. The Km of sorbitol for PD is 1.4 mM and for NAD is 0.06 mM. NADH (Ki 0.002 mM) competitively inhibits PD in the forward direction. PD purified 100-fold from diabetic and nondiabetic cataracts and normal lenses exhibit similar kinetic constants. PD has an extremely high Vmax in the fructose-to-sorbitol direction. The Km of fructose is 40 mM and for NADH is 0.02 mM. At high enough concentration, alrestatin also inhibits PD. The added activities of AR and PD in producing sorbitol and fructose in combination with decreased hexokinase with age may account for diabetic cataract formation in human lenses exposed to a high glucose stress. Nucleotide levels are reported for senile cataractous lenses.


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