Attenuation of sugar cataract by ethyl pyruvate

Mol Cell Biochem. 1999 Oct;200(1-2):103-9. doi: 10.1023/a:1007055503748.


Studies describe an attenuation of sugar cataract formation by topical administration of ethyl pyruvate. Cataract formation was induced by feeding young rats a 30% galactose diet. Mature cataracts appeared in about thirty days. Instillation of the eye drops containing 5% ethyl pyruvate decelerated the process significantly. Biochemically, the effect was reflected by lowering in the contents of dulcitol and glycated proteins. The ATP levels were also higher in comparison to the placebo treated group. The effects are hence attributable to the effect of pyruvate in inhibiting dulcitol synthesis and protein glycation, in addition to its antioxidant properties and metabolic support. The use of esterified pyruvate instead of the unesterified pyruvate was preferred because of its greater penetration through the cornea and consequently a higher concentration attained in the aqueous humor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Aqueous Humor / metabolism
  • Cataract / etiology
  • Cataract / metabolism
  • Cataract / prevention & control*
  • Crystallins / metabolism
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Galactitol / metabolism
  • Galactose / administration & dosage
  • Galactosemias / complications
  • Glycosylation
  • Male
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Pyruvates / administration & dosage
  • Pyruvates / pharmacokinetics
  • Pyruvates / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Crystallins
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Pyruvates
  • ethyl pyruvate
  • Galactitol
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Galactose