Senile cataracts are associated with oxidation, fragmentation, cross-linking, insolubilization, and yellow pigmentation of lens crystallins. This process is partially explained by advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) from ascorbic acid (ASA), as unequivocally demonstrated in our hSVCT2 transgenic mouse(PNAS 103:16912, 2006). We now present the first pharmacological intervention study against ascorbylation in these mice.
Five groups of mice (10 mice/group) were fed from two to nine months a diet containing 0.1% (wt/wt) aminoguanidine (AG), pyridoxamine (PM), penicillamine (PA), and nucleophilic compounds NC-I and NC-II. AGEs were determined in crystallin digests using HPLC, LC-MS or GC-MS. In vitro incubations of lens protein extract with ASA or dehydroascorbic aicd (DHA) were also performed.
ASA level increased ~10 fold in all groups and was unaffected by treatment. AGEs were several fold increased in transgenic compared to control lenses. Body weight, food intake, lenticular glutathione and glycated lysine level were unaltered. In vitro, all compounds inhibited AGE formation. In vivo, NC-I and NC-II significantly decreased protein fluorescence at λex335/em385 (p=0.045, 0.017, respectively) and λex370/em440 (p=0.029, 0.007, respectively). Other inhibitors had no effect. After 7 months, only NC-1 and NC-2 induced a 50 % reduction in pentosidine (n.s, p=0.035 respectively). NC-1 also decreased carboxymethyllysine (CML) (p=0.032) and carboxyethyllysine (CEL) (p= n.s). Fluorescent crosslink K2P was decreased by NC-1, NC-2, AG and PM (p= n.s).
Pharmacologically blocking protein ascorbylation with absorbable guanidino compounds is feasible and may represent a new strategy for the delay of age-related nuclear sclerosis of the lens.