Thiamine deficiency in vivo produces fiber cell degeneration in mouse lenses

Peter H. Frederikse, Patricia Farnsworth, J. Samuel Zigler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Thiamine (Vitamin B1) is a co-factor for enzymes key in bridging aerobic and anaerobic metabolism. One such enzyme, transketolase, catalyzes two of three reactions for entry into the pentose-phosphate pathway, a major source of chemical reducing power. Thus, thiamine deprivation (TD) is considered a classic model of systemic oxidative stress and is linked with degenerative diseases. TD in mice and rats produces neurodegeneration with Alzheimer's disease characteristics. Age-related disease of the lens, commonly cataract, is also linked with thiamine and oxidative stress. To test the effects of TD on mice, we used a previously defined protocol involving a thiamine free diet and a thiamine antagonist. After 12 days, lens fiber cell degeneration was observed primarily along the lens posterior beneath the intact capsule. These regions exhibited a localized increased expression of Alzheimer precursor protein, Aβ peptides, and presenilin 1. These data indicate that TD in mice produces fiber cell degeneration and suggest common mechanisms for TD-induced lens fiber and neuronal cell degeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-707
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 19 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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