The occurrence of Cataract (clouding of the lens in the eye) is highest among eye diseases and can even lead to blindness1. Approximately 50% of blindness cases are due to cataract and the prevalence is increasing over the course of time2. Exploring the pathogenesis of cataracts and approaches to stop or delay their occurrence is an imperative issue for clinical and scientific researchers3.
Before the maturation of cataract oxidative stress is implicated. It is caused by the free radicals generated in the lens that were not eliminated by antioxidants enzymes in time4. Previous studies have exhibited that cataracts can be prevented via antioxidants from phyto-chemical materials5.
Quercetin is major flavoniod in our diet. Its metabolites have important protective role against cataract reducing the oxidative damage in lens6. It is believed that it may remove free radicals and produce beneficial outcomes with regard to lens opacities.
Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are a family of stress-responsive proteins involved in processes such as hyperthermia, oxidative stress and aging7. HSP70 is a major member of the HSP family, showing high expression levels in the lenses of cataract patients8. Therefore it is supposed to be involved in cataract infectivity, although the mechanisms of this involvement are still not the known.
This led the scientists to connect the dots and used a selenium-induced cataract model in order to investigate its effects on antioxidant enzyme activities such as CAT (catalase) and SOD (superoxide dismutase) as well as on oxidative damage9.
Researchers performed the experiment on 10 day old wistar rats. All were injected with sodium selenite to induce cataracts. Expression level of HSP70 was determined by quantitative real-time PCR and immune-histochemistry. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) were assessed by ELISA.
The selenium-induced cataract model in rats was established successfully. The expression level of HSP70 was significantly higher than that in model group. CAT and SOD activities were enhanced to a much greater extent in Quercetin treated group.
Researchers established that Quercetin has a protective effect on selenium-induced cataracts and probably modulates the expression of HSP70 to maintain homeostasis of oxidative stress.
Written by: Rabeeia
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24 April, 2019