Since many years experimental evidences have suggested an association between nutrition and lens opacities. A dietary deficiency of antioxidants and reactive oxygen scavengers may be involved in the pathogenesis of the "idiopathic" human senile cataract, as it has been demonstrated in some experimental cataracts. We tested the levels of ascorbic acid (vit. C), alpha-tocopherol (vit. E), reduced glutathione (GSH) and malondialdehyde (MDA) in the plasma or in the red blood cells (RBC) of 42 patients who were affected by surgically significant cataract and of 40 age-matched controls. Plasma vit. C mean level was 4.46 gamma/ml in cataracts and 4.62 gamma/ml in controls, while vit. E level was 7.70 and 7.09 gamma/ml respectively. RBC GSH was found to be 342 gamma/ml in cataracts and 346 in controls, while the MDA content was 4.06 picoMol/ml and 4.08 picoMol/ml respectively. The level of each tested nutrient or metabolite was not found to be statistically different between cataractous patients and controls, nor any significant trend was found to be present when the nutrients and metabolites were correlated to each other. Our results do not support the hypothesis of a nutritional deficiency in human senile cataracts. However, a defect in the antioxidative metabolism pathways could be present either systemically or at lens level.
PMID: 1369641 [Pubmed - MEDLINE]