Establishment of a naphthalene cataract model in vitro

Guo Tong Xu, J. Samuel Zigler, Marjorie F. Lou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


In the past, almost all studies on naphthalene cataract were based on in vivo experiments. Such studies are laborious and time-consuming and are complicated by systemic toxicity arising from the metabolites of naphthalene. In order to study the direct effects of naphthalene metabolites on the lens, we established an in vitro 'naphthalene cataract' model system by exposing rat lens to naphthalene dihydrodiol (2·5 × 10-5 m) containing medium for 48 hr. Under these conditions, we analysed several biochemical parameters including the glutathione level, protein mixed disulfides, protein patterns on SDS-gels, active transport, NA+ K+-ATPase activities and the measurement of naphthalene metabolites in the cultured lenses. The results showed that both the morphological and biochemical changes were very similar to those observed in lenses of rats fed naphthalene (1 g kg-1 day-1). Furthermore, ALØ1576 completely blocked the in vitro changes as it did in vivo. Therefore, this model system can be used as a new tool to investigate the mechanism of naphthalene cataract formation. Other naphthalene metabolites such as 1-naphthol, 2-naphthol, 1,2-dihydroxynapthalene and 1,2-naphthoquinone were also studied in vitro and the results showed that the effects of these naphthalene metabolites were very different from those observed in naphthalene cataracts in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental eye research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1992


  • 1,2-dihydroxynaphthalene
  • 1,2-naphthoquinone
  • 1-naphthol
  • 2-naphthol
  • active transport
  • aldose reductase inhibitor
  • cataract
  • disulfide cross-linking
  • glutathione
  • naphthalene
  • naphthalene dihydrodiol
  • protein-thiol mixed disulfide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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