Diabetes and smoking are known risk factors for cataract development. In this study, we evaluated the effect of nicotine on the progression of cataracts in a type 1 diabetic rat model. Diabetes was induced in Sprague-Dawley rats by a single injection of 65 mg/kg streptozotocin. Daily nicotine injections were administered subcutaneously. Forty-five rats were divided into groups of diabetics with and without nicotine treatment and controls with and without nicotine treatment. Progression of lens opacity was monitored using a slit lamp biomicroscope and scores were assigned. To assess whether systemic inflammation played a role in mediating cataractogenesis, we studied serum levels of eotaxin, IL-6, and IL-4. The levels of the measured cytokines increased significantly in nicotine-treated and untreated diabetic animals versus controls and demonstrated a positive trend in the nicotine-treated diabetic rats. Our data suggest the presence of a synergistic relationship between nicotine and diabetes that accelerated cataract formation via inflammatory mediators.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism