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February 1961

Carbohydrate Metabolism in the Rat Lens as Related to the Age of the Animal

Author Affiliations

Rochester, N.Y.
From the Department of Surgery, Division of Ophthalmology of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1961;65(2):181-183. doi:10.1001/archopht.1961.01840020183005

An important factor in the degree of susceptibility of the rat lens to the cataractogenic action of galactose and xylose is the age of the animal. When rats aged 28-32 days are placed on a 60% galactose diet, they develop dense lenticular opacification in 12-18 days while older animals (85-100 days of age) require approximately 70 days for cataract formation to occur.1 The effect of a 30% xylose diet shows a more striking age variation. Lenticular changes rapidly develop in the lens of the 28-32 day rat but the lens eventually clarifies in spite of the continued ingestion of xylose. In the older animal, a prolonged xylose diet is ineffective as a cataractogenic agent.2,3,4

Since the lens relies on carbohydrate (glucose) metabolism as its major source of energy, the preceding observations could be explained on the basis of differences in the rates of glucose utilization via the 2 major

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