Effects of naphthalene metabolites on cultured cells from eye lens

Paul Russell, Takahiko Yamada, Guo Ton Xu, Donita Garland, J. Samuel Zigler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Naphthalene is toxic to the eye and results in opacification of the lens. To investigate the metabolic events that may be occurring in the lens epithelial cells, a cell line of lens from a transgenic mouse was incubated with various metabolites of naphthalene. Naphthoquinone at 50 μM was toxic to most cells with a depletion of glutathione levels noted within 6 h of incubation. At 10 μM, naphthoquinone caused an increase in specific activity of the enzyme DT-diaphorase. This enzyme is thought to be a defense against quinones since semiquinone formation is thought to be lessened. Naphthalene-1,2-dihydrodiol at 50 μM also caused an increase in the specific activity of the DT-diaphorase, while at 10 μM no apparent change occurred in the cells. Although there was evidence of metabolic alterations in the cells with the metabolites of naphthalene, the protein profile by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis did not change and there was no indication of an increase in carbonyl formation in the soluble proteins of the cells. These experiments indicate that the metabolites of naphthalene can cause alteration in the metabolism of the lens cells but may not cause apparent changes in the major proteins within the lens epithelium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-261
Number of pages7
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1991


  • Diaphorase
  • Free radicals
  • Glutathione
  • Glutathione reductase
  • Lens
  • Naphthalene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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