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K P Mitton, J L Hess, G E Bunce; Causes of decreased phase transition temperature in selenite cataract model.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1995;36(5):914-924. doi: https://doi.org/.
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PURPOSE: Lenses from selenite-treated animals develop reversible "cold cataract" at a lower temperature than is required for lenses from age-matched control animals. This unexplained, stabilized phase transition is readily observed in intact lenses 36 to 48 hours after treatment and occurs in lenses before the appearance of the irreversible nuclear opacity observed 72 to 96 hours after treatment. The objective of this study was to investigate factors that may be responsible for this difference. METHODS: Preweanling rats were injected with sodium selenite. Lens extracellular water volume was measured using 14C-inulin. Free amino acids were analyzed using precolumn derivatization and high performance liquid chromatography. Soluble protein was isolated from lenses of control, and treated animals and temperature-dependent changes in light scattering were measured at 490 nm. RESULTS: Lens extracellular water was increased by the selenite treatment, with a concurrent 10% decrease in intracellular volume. Solutions of soluble protein from lenses of selenite-treated animals after postinjection hours 24 and 48 had higher critical phase transition temperatures (Tc) compared to similar proteins from control lenses. From 24 to 72 hours after injection, the free amino acid content of the lens increased 42%. Taurine levels were unchanged over the same period. The addition of 7 mM glycine and 7 mM proline to solutions of soluble protein (96 mg ml-1) decreased the phase transition temperature. Taurine (14 mM) had a similar effect. Combining taurine and the glycine plus proline solutions had an additive effect in lowering the Tc. CONCLUSIONS: Increases in free amino acid concentration occur in lenses in response to the stress imposed by a systemic dose of selenite. The altered polyion content in lenses from selenite-treated animals, before nuclear cataract formation, contributes to the greater thermal stability of transparency in these lenses, thus lowering the temperature at which "cold cataract" forms.
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