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S Zigman, T Paxhia, T McDaniel, M F Lou, N T Yu; Effect of chronic near-ultraviolet radiation on the gray squirrel lens in vivo.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1991;32(6):1723-1732.
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The effects of ambient exposure to near-ultraviolet (near-UV) radiation (300-400 nm) on the ocular lens of the diurnal squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) are reported. Gray squirrels lived in cages illuminated for 12 hr a day with near-UV light (6 mW/cm2, 365 nm) for 1 yr. The non-UV-exposed controls were housed separately. In the lenses of UV-exposed animals, anterior pole changes occurred. Central epithelial cells swelled, disappeared, or underwent proliferation. A band of disoriented degenerating fiber cells was seen in the midcortex, with a degree of liquefaction. When lens protein compartments were separated by centrifugation, water-insoluble but urea-soluble fractions were enhanced in the outer and inner cortex and the nucleus. Both high-performance liquid chromatography and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis revealed that proteins mainly in the midcortex and nucleus were altered considerably. Evidence of a loss of sulfhydryl compounds (by chemical and Raman spectroscopic analyses) and an increase of protein-thiol mixed disulfides (chemically) was also observed. These data prove that repetitive ambient exposure of diurnal animals to near-UV radiation at subsolar levels damages the lens by interfering with the maintenance of epithelial cells and altering the structural proteins; some of this may be due to the conversion of sulfhydryls to mixed disulfides.
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