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October 1959

Tryptophan-Deficiency Cataract in Guinea Pigs

Author Affiliations

Bethesda, Md.
From the Ophthalmology Branch, National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness (Dr. von Sallmann, Miss Grimes, Mrs. Collins), and the Laboratory of Nutrition and Endocrinology, National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases (Dr. Reid), National Institutes of Health, Public Health Service, U. S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

AMA Arch Ophthalmol. 1959;62(4):662-672. doi:10.1001/archopht.1959.04220040124018

Lens opacities have been described in rats on diets deficient in one of several essential amino acids. Such observations appear firmly established in tryptophan, phenylalanine, valine, and histidine deficiency; questionable when threonine or isoleucine were withheld from the diet, and negative in rats on diets lacking in methionine or arginine.1-6 The frequency, course, and histology of the lenticular changes have not been sufficiently studied with the exception of the tryptophan-deficiency cataract. Here, the original observation of Totter and Day1 and the detailed biomicroscopic description of the lesion by Buschke7 were confirmed and extended by histological examinations of Ferraro and Roizin.8 Later an attempt was made in this laboratory to analyze the effect of tryptophan deficiency on cell division and cell degeneration in the lens epithelium of rats,9 but the small number of survivors in our series prevented the accumulation of sufficient data. Since guinea pigs