Glycation of crystallins in lenses from aging and diabetic individuals

FEBS Lett. 1992 Dec 7;314(1):1-4. doi: 10.1016/0014-5793(92)81446-s.


Water-soluble crystallins were obtained from clear human lenses of different age (4-81-year-olds) and lenses of individuals showing senile or diabetic cataracts. Levels of early glycation products were high in the high molecular weight material (HM) and the alpha-crystallin fractions, compared with beta- and gamma-crystallins. This difference becomes more prominent upon aging. The content of total early glycation products in HM and alpha-crystallin increases clearly with age, whereas levels remain relatively constant in the beta- and gamma-crystallins. There is an elevation of early products in cataractous lenses from diabetic individuals compared with those suffering from senile cataract. Specific non-tryptophan fluorescence (excitation/emission wavelengths 370/440 nm), used as an indicator for late glycation products, increased dramatically with age and was 2-fold higher in the diabetic subjects. Levels of fluorescence decreased in the order HM > alpha- > beta- > gamma-crystallins. The results suggest an increase in glycation rate in alpha-crystallin as a result of aging and diabetes, while the rate of glycation of beta- and gamma-crystallins remains almost constant.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Cataract / etiology
  • Cataract / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Crystallins / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism*
  • Glycoproteins / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Lens, Crystalline / chemistry*
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Solubility
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence


  • Crystallins
  • Glycoproteins