Purpose: To determine the antioxidant role of vitamin E (VE) (10 mg/kg/day) against radiation-induced cataract in lens after total-cranium irradiation of rats with a single dose of 5 Gy.
Methods: Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into three groups. Group 1 did not receive VE or irradiation but received both 0.1 ml physiologic saline intraperitoneally and sham irradiation (control group). Group 2 received to total cranium 5 Gy of gamma irradiation as a single dose (RT group) plus 0.1 ml physiologic saline intraperitoneally. Group 3 received irradiation to total cranium plus 10 mg/kg/day VE (RT+VE group). The rats were irradiated using a cobalt-60 teletherapy unit. Chylack's cataract classification (1) was used in this study. At the end of 10 days, the rats were killed and their eyes were enucleated to measure the antioxidant enzymes (the activity of superoxide dismutase [SOD], glutathione peroxidase [GSH-Px]) and lipid peroxidation level (malondialdehyde [MDA]).
Results: While grade 1 cataract development was detectable in seven rats in the RT group, it was detectable only in two rats in the RT+VE group, whereas none of the rats in the control group exhibited any biomicroscopic change in their lenses. MDA level and GSH-Px activity in the rat lens in the RT group was significantly higher than in the control group. SOD activity in the RT group was lower than in the control group. The activity of SOD and GSH-Px enzymes was higher in the RT+VE group, but MDA level was lower in the RT+VE group when compared with the RT group.
Conclusions: Vitamin E has a protective effect on radiation-induced cataract by decreasing oxidative stress.