Rat lenses in organ culture were exposed to activated species of oxygen generated in the culture medium either by xanthine oxidase and hypoxanthine or by riboflavin and visible light, two systems which have been shown to produce superoxide and H2O2. In each case there was marked damage to carrier-mediated transport systems of the lens. Under standard culture conditions this damage was strongly inhibited by catalase, but not by superoxide dismutase (SOD). By the addition to the medium of chelated iron, hydroxyl radicals were produced in a Fenton reaction with a concomitant decrease in H2O2 levels. With both oxygen radical-generating systems, the addition of chelated iron strongly inhibited lens damage. This inhibitory effect could be reversed by the addition of SOD with the chelated iron. Under such conditions SOD converts superoxide anion to H2O2, thereby preventing reduction of the chelated iron and thus stopping the generation of hydroxyl radicals. Increased lens damage following addition of SOD to the iron-containing systems correlated with higher H2O2 concentrations, and was inhibited by catalase. These findings suggest that, when generated in the fluids surrounding the lens, H2O2 poses a much greater oxidative stress for the lens than do the superoxide or hydroxyl free radicals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology