This investigation examined many parameters during the course of early development of naphthalene-induced cataract in a time span of 0 to 79 days of treatment. Feeding naphthalene daily to Black-Hooded rats resulted in gradual progressive development of cataract. The first faint opacities were detectable after 7 days. Free soluble total glutathione (oxidized and reduced) of these lenses was shown to gradually decrease to a maximum loss of about 20% a value reached by day 30 of treatment.No activity loss of either enzyme required for glutathione synthesis (γglutamylcysteine synthetase or glutathione synthetase) was observed in homog-enates of naphthalene versus control lenses. There was also neither impairment of [35S]-L-cystine uptake nor of [35S]-glutathione synthetic capacity in lenses cultured from rats after 12, 24 or 36 days of naphthalene feeding when compared to control lenses. Hence, glutathione loss cannot be explained by a damaged glutathione synthesis system.Progressive activity loss of glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase was observed. The loss of glutathione peroxidase activity was especially remarkable. Thus, the defense system against oxidative damage is impaired and may be a significant factor in naphthalene-induced cataract of the rat.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported in part by National Institutes of Health research grants EY-01197 and EY-01821 and funds from Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc. We wish to express our thanks to Sylvia Moscoso for technical assistance and to Dr. Paul Russell for a gel analysis of the soluble protein.