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Small molecules, both dietary and endogenous, influence the onset of lens cataracts.

Barnes, S. and Quinlan, R.A. (2016) 'Small molecules, both dietary and endogenous, influence the onset of lens cataracts.', Experimental eye research., 156 . pp. 87-94.


How the lens ages successfully is a lesson in biological adaption and the emergent properties of its complement of cells and proteins. This living tissue contains some of the oldest proteins in our bodies and yet they remain functional for decades, despite exposure to UV light, to reactive oxygen species and all the other hazards to protein function. This remarkable feat is achieved by a shrewd investment in very stable proteins as lens crystallins, by providing a reservoir of ATP-independent protein chaperones unequalled by any other tissue and by an oxidation-resistant environment. In addition, glutathione, a free radical scavenger, is present in mM concentrations and the plasma membranes contain oxidation-resistant sphingolipids, so what compromises lens function as it ages? In this review, we examine the role of small molecules in the prevention or causation of cataracts, including those associated with diet, metabolic pathways and drug therapy (steroids).

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Publisher statement:© 2016 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:28 March 2016
Date deposited:07 April 2016
Date of first online publication:31 March 2016
Date first made open access:31 March 2017

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