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Increased Levels of Iron in Human Cataract Lenses

1Blum M., 2Dawczynski J., 3Winnefeld K., 3Strobel J.,
1HELIOS-Klinikum Erfurt , Klinik für Augenheilkunde (Erfurt)
2Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Klinik für Augenheilkunde (Jena)
3Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Universitätsklinikum, Institut für Klinische Chemie und Laboratoriumsmedizin (Jena)

Purpose: To examine the iron content of human lenses in different types of cataract and to investigate the possible influence of diabetes on the iron content of the lens.
Methods: 63 human lenses (34 corticonuclear cataract, 29 mature cataract; with a mean age of 70.97±15.68 vs. 74.69±11.08 years; 45 non-diabetics and 18 diabetics) were investigated by atomic absorption spectroscopy.
Results: Iron content of human lenses was significantly increased in mature cataracts compared to corticonuclear cataracts (0.11±0.09 vs. 0.07±0.05 µmol/g dry mass; p=0.02). Furthermore, a increase of the lens iron content could be observed with increasing lens coloration (light-brown 0.07±0.06 vs. dark-brown 0.10±0.08 µmol/g dry mass). Diabetic patients seem to have increased iron contents in the lens compared to non-diabetic subjects (0.11±0.10 vs. 0.08±0.05 µmol/g dry mass).
Conclusions: These data suggest a possible influence of the lens iron content on the development of lens opacification. Especially advanced forms of cataract show significantly increased iron content.

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