Author(s): Chung SS, Ho EC, Lam KS, Chung SK
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Abstract Diabetes causes increased oxidative stress, which is thought to play an important role in the pathogenesis of various diabetic complications. However, the source of the hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress is not clear. It was found that the polyol pathway is the major contributor to oxidative stress in the lenses and nerves of diabetic mice. The first enzyme in the pathway, aldose reductase (AR), reduces glucose to sorbitol, which is then converted to fructose by sorbitol dehydrogenase (SDH). Transgenic mice that overexpress AR specifically in their lenses showed a significant increase in oxidative stress when they became hyperglycemic, as indicated by a decrease in GSH and an increase in malondialdehyde in their lenses. Introducing an SDH-deficient mutation into these transgenic mice significantly normalized the GSH and malondialdehyde levels. These results indicate that both enzymes of the polyol pathway contributed to hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress in the lens. In the wild-type mice, diabetes caused a significant decrease in GSH in their sciatic nerves, indicative of oxidative stress. In the AR null mutant mice, diabetes did not lead to any decrease in the nerve GSH level. These results indicate that similar to the situation in the lens, AR is also the major contributor to hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress in the nerve. Although increased flux of glucose through the polyol pathway leads to diabetic lesions in both the lenses and nerve, the mechanisms may be different. AR-induced osmotic stress seems to be the cause of diabetic cataract, whereas AR-induced oxidative stress is probably the cause of neuronal dysfunction.
This article was published in J Am Soc Nephrol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology