Orally active multi-functional antioxidants delay cataract formation in streptozotocin (type 1) diabetic and gamma-irradiated rats

James Randazzo, Peng Zhang, Jun Makita, Karen Blessing, Peter F. Kador

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Background: Age-related cataract is a worldwide health care problem whose progression has been linked to oxidative stress and the accumulation of redox-active metals. Since there is no specific animal model for human age-related cataract, multiple animal models must be used to evaluate potential therapies that may delay and/or prevent cataract formation. Methods/Principal Findings: Proof of concept studies were conducted to evaluate 4-(5-hydroxypyrimidin-2-yl)-N,N-dimethyl-3,5-dioxopiperazine-1-sulfonamide (compound 4) and 4-(5-hydroxy-4,6-dimethoxypyrimidin-2-yl)-N,N-dimethyl-3,5-dioxopiperazine-1-sulfonamide (compound 8) multi-functional antioxidants that can independently chelate redox metals and quench free radicals, on their ability to delay the progression of diabetic "sugar" 4 or 8, or a single i.p. injection of panthethine, a radioprotective agent. Compared to untreated, irradiated rats, treatment with pantethine, 4 and 8 delayed initial lens changes by 4, 47, and 38 days, respectively, and the average formation of posterior subcapsular opacities by 23, 53 and 58 days, respectively. In the second study, select groups of diabetic Sprague Dawley rats were administered chow containing compounds 4, 8 or the aldose reductase inhibitor AL1576. As anticipated, treatment with AL1576 prevented cataract by inhibiting sorbitol formation in the lens. However, compared to untreated rats, compounds 4 and 8 delayed vacuole formation by 20 days and 12 days, respectively, and cortical cataract formation by 8 and 3 days, respectively, without reducing lenticular sorbitol. Using in vitro lens culture in 30 mM xylose to model diabetic "sugar" cataract formation, western blots confirmed that multi-functional antioxidants reduced endoplasmic reticulum stress. Conclusions/Significance: Multi-functional antioxidants delayed cataract formation in two diverse rat models. These studies provide a proof of concept that a general cataract treatment focused on reducing oxidative stress instead of a specific mechanism of cataractogenesis can be developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere18980
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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