PURPOSE: To study if ascorbate supplementation decreases ultraviolet radiation (UVR)-induced cataract development in the guinea pig.
METHODS: Sixty 6-9-week-old pigmented guinea pigs received drinking water supplemented with or without 5.5 mm l-ascorbate for 4 weeks. After supplementation, 40 animals were exposed unilaterally in vivo under anaesthesia to 80 kJ/m(2) UVR-B. One day later, the animals were killed and lenses were extracted. Degree of cataract was quantified by measurement of intensity of forward lens light scattering. Lens ascorbate concentration was determined with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with UVR detection at 254 nm. Twenty animals were used as non-exposed control.
RESULTS: Supplementation increased lens ascorbate concentration significantly. In UVR-exposed animals, mean 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for animal-averaged lens ascorbate concentration (micromol/g wet weight lens) were 0.54 +/- 0.07 (no ascorbate) and 0.83 +/- 0.05 (5.5 mm ascorbate). In non-exposed control animals, mean 95% CIs for animal-averaged lens ascorbate concentration (micromol/g wet weight lens) were 0.72 +/- 0.12 (0 mm ascorbate) and 0.90 +/- 0.15 (5.5 mm ascorbate). All non-exposed lenses were devoid of cataract. Superficial anterior cataract developed in all UVR-exposed lenses. The lens light scattering was 39.2 +/- 14.1 milli transformed equivalent diazepam concentration (m(tEDC)) without and 35.9 +/- 14.0 m(tEDC) with ascorbate supplementation.
CONCLUSION: Superficial anterior cataract develops in lenses exposed to UVR-B. Ascorbate supplementation is non-toxic to both UVR-B-exposed lenses and non-exposed control lenses. Ascorbate supplementation does not reduce in vivo lens forward light scattering secondary to UVR-B exposure in the guinea pig.
2008. Vol. 86, no 2, 188-95 p.