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April 1962

Sialic Acids in Human Eyes: Relationship to Lens Aging and Retinal Pathology

Author Affiliations

St. Louis
From the Department of Ophthalmology and the Oscar Johnson Institute, Washington University School of Medicine.; Special Fellow, National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness, National Institutes of Health, Public Health Service.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1962;67(4):459-463. doi:10.1001/archopht.1962.00960020459013

Sialic acids are N-acetyl, N-glycolyl, or N-O-diacetyl derivatives of neuraminic acid, whose basic structural formula is that of pyruvic acid and mannosamine1 (Fig. 1). In the past decade, sialic acids have been described in a variety of tissues and body fluids as well as in bacteria.2-4 In the eye, sialic acids were estimated in the vitreous in various mammals and lower vertebrates5,6 and were qualitatively studied in the aqueous and the cornea of the steer.7,8

In the present study, the distribution of sialic acids in the human eye has been determined. The concentrations of sialic acids have been related to aging of the eye, particularly that of the lens. Retinal and subretinal fluids were evaluated in terms of content of sialic acids.

Materials and Method  Normal human eyes of children (6 in number) and adults (11 in number) obtained at autopsy were provided by the