Antioxidants and cataract: (Cataract induction in space environment and application to terrestrial aging cataract)



The effect of several antioxidants and cysteine-elevating precursor drugs (prodrugs) was tested on lens damage occurring after in vitro exposure to low levels of 60Co-y-irradiation, to simulate in vitro the exposure to radiation in vivo of (1) astronauts (2) jet crews (3) military radiation accident personnel. Tocopherol (100 μM), ascorbic acid (1mM), R-α-lipoic acid (1mM), and taurine (0.5 mM) protected against radiation- associated protein leakage. MTCA and ribocysteine protected lenses against opacification, LDH and protein leakage, indicating that antioxidants and prodrugs of cysteine appear to offer protection against lens damage caused by low level radiation.