Background: To investigate the preventive effect of danshensu on the selenite-induced opacification of cultured rat lenses.
Methods: Isolated lens were divided into three groups with eight lenses in each group. Group I: lenses were incubated with M199 medium alone; Group II: incubated in M199 containing 200 µmol/L sodium selenite; Group III: incubated in M199 containing 200 µmol/L sodium selenite and 500 µmol/L danshensu. Selenite was administered on the third day, and danshensu treatment was from the second to the fifth day. Cataracts development was observed using an inverted microscope, and the lenses were analysed for total anti-oxidative capabilities, mean activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase and glutathione S-transferase; levels of reduced glutathione; malondialdehyde; and total sulfhydryl content.
Results: All lenses in Group I were clear, whereas all lenses in Group II developed dense vacuolization and opacification. In Group III, 25% lenses revealed minimal vacuolization, and 75% showed no opacification or vacuolization. Total anti-oxidative capabilities and the mean activities of anti-oxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase and glutathione S-transferase; levels of glutathione; and total sulfhydryl content were elevated, and the level of malondialdehyde was decreased following treatment with danshensu compared with Group II.
Conlusion: The anti-oxidative properties of danshensu may play a major role in its contribution to the anticataract effect.