Inhibition of naphthalene cataract in rats by aldose reductase inhibitors

Marjorie F. Lou, Guo Tong Xu, Samuel Zigler, Bill York

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Naphthalene-induced cataract in rat lenses can be completely prevented by AL01576, an aldose reductase inhibitor (ARI). In an attempt to understand the mechanism of this inhibition, several ARIs were examined to compare their efficacies in preventing naphthalene cataract, using both in vitro and in vivo models. Two classes of ARIs were tested: One group including AL01576, AL04114 (a AL01576 analog) and Sorbinil contained the spirohydantoin group, while Tolrestat contained a carboxylic acid group. Furthermore, to clarify if aldose reductase played a role in naphthalene-induced cataractogenesis in addition to its role in sugar cataract formation, a new dual cataract model was established for ART evaluations. This was achieved by feeding rats simultaneously with high galactose and naphthalene or incubating rat lenses in culture media containing high galactose and naphthalene dihydrodiol. Under these conditions, both cortical cataract and perinuclear cataract developed in the same lens. It was found that at the same dosage of 10 mg/kg/day, both AL01576 and AL04114 completely prevented all morphological and biochemical changes in the lenses of naphthalene-fed rats. Sorbinil was less efficacious, while Tolrestat was inactive. AL01576 showed a dose-response effect in preventing naphthalene cataract and at 10 mg/kg/day, it was also effective as an intervention agent after cataractogenesis had begun. With the dual cataract model, Tolrestat prevented the high galactose-induced cortical cataract but showed no protection against the naphthalene-induced perinuclear cataract. AL01576, on the other hand, prevented both cataract formations. Results for dulcitol and glutathione levels were in good agreement with the morphological findings. AL04114, an ARI as potent as AL01576 but without its property for cytochrome P-450 inhibition, displayed similar efficacy in preventing naphthalene cataract. Based on these results, it was concluded that the prevention of the naphthalene cataract probably results from inhibition of the conversion of naphthalene dihydrodiol to 1,2-dihydroxynaphthalene and that the effect of the ARIs cannot be explained by their inhibition of the dihydrodiol dehydrogenase activity of aldose reductase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-432
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Aldose reductase inhibitor
  • Cataract
  • Naphthalene
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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