Author(s): Giblin FJ, Leverenz VR, Padgaonkar VA, Unakar NJ, Dang L,
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Abstract The possible role of ultraviolet light in the formation of cataract is not well understood. In this study, guinea pigs were exposed to a chronic, low level of UVA light (0.5 mWcm(-2), 340-410 nm wavelength, peak at 365 nm) for 4-5 months. It is known that the lens of the guinea pig possesses unusually high levels of the UVA chromophore NADPH. In a preliminary analysis, it was found that isolated guinea pig corneas transmitted 70-90\% of 340-400 nm light, and that UVA radiation was able to penetrate deep into the nucleus of the guinea pig lens, where it was absorbed. Exposure of guinea pigs to UVA in vivo produced a 60\% inactivation of lens epithelial catalase; however, analysis by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) showed no apparent morphological effects on either the lens epithelium or the cortex. A number of UVA-induced effects were found in the nucleus of the guinea pig lens, but were observed either not at all or to a lesser extent in the cortex. The effects included an increase in light scattering (two-fold; slit-lamp examination), distention of intercellular spaces (TEM), an increase in lipid peroxidation (30-35\%; infrared spectroscopy), a decrease in GSH level (30\%), an increase in protein-thiol mixed disulfide levels (80\%), loss of water-soluble protein (20\%), an increase in the amount of protein disulfide (two-fold; two-dimensional diagonal electrophoresis), degradation of MIP26 (15\%) and loss of cytoskeletal proteins including actin, alpha- and beta- tubulin, vimentin and alpha-actinin (60-100\%). The results indicate that a 4-5 month exposure of guinea pigs to a biologically relevant level of UVA light produces deleterious effects on the central region of the lenses of the animals. UVA radiation, coupled presumably with the photoreactive UVA chromophore NADPH and trace amounts of O(2) present in the lens nucleus, produced significant levels of oxidized products in the nuclear region over a five month period. The data demonstrate the potentially harmful nature of UVA light with respect to the lens, and highlight the importance of investigating a possible role for this type of radiation in the formation of human cataract.
This article was published in Exp Eye Res
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology