* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received April 15, 2008; Revision received April 22, 2008
The pathogenesis of cataract is associated with oxidative stress and with altered crystallin expression but it is still understood incompletely. In this study, the senescence-accelerated OXYS rats were used as a model. The first biomicroscopic signs of cataract in OXYS rats were registered at the age of 1.5 months; at 3 months morbidity reached 90%, and at 6 months it reached 100%. Cataract manifestation progresses: at 24 months mature cataract was detected in 90% of eyes of OXYS rats, whereas in 80% of Wistar rat eyes only initial signs of this disease were detected. Analysis of lens redox-parameters has shown that in OXYS rats the intensity of tryptophan fluorescence is higher, the GSH content being higher at 2 months but during formation of mature cataract at 13, 18, and 24 months being lower than in Wistar rats. Decrease in solubility of OXYS rat lens proteins was observed at the age of 13 months. At the age of 3 months gene expression of αA-crystallin and αB-crystallin was 3-fold and 25% lower, respectively, than in Wistar rats. At the age of 14 months there was a 27-fold decrease in expression of αB-crystallin in OXYS rats and it became 21-fold lower than in control. Proteins are synthesized in lens epithelial cells and dystrophic changes in senile cataract result in decrease in structural protein expression. The changes observed in OXYS rats are evidently associated with the dystrophic changes in lens epithelium, which we have described earlier, and are consistent with the model of senile cataract.
KEY WORDS: cataract, oxidative stress, α-crystallin expression, senescence-accelerated OXYS rats