The protective effect of alpha-crystallin against acute inflammation in mice

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2005 Jun 10;1740(3):411-20. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2004.11.002. Epub 2004 Nov 17.


Acute inflammation can activate macrophages or monocytes and subsequently release several inflammatory cytokines and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Oxidative stress triggered by the production of ROS plays deleterious role leading to multiple organ failure. This study was designed to investigate the prophylactic effect of alpha-crystallin, a major chaperone lens protein comprising of alpha-A and alpha-B subunits in inflammation-induced mice. Mice were divided into three groups (n=6 in each): control, inflammation and alpha-crystallin-treated. Results show that ROS was significantly higher in the lymphocytes, hepatocytes and astrocytes (P<0.05) of inflammation-induced mice when compared to control, but no significant changes were observed in the alpha-crystallin-treated group. Increased level of lipid peroxidation (LPO) and decreased activities of antioxidant such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione were observed in the inflammation-induced mice when compared to control, whereas the activities of these were found to be normal followed by alpha-crystallin treatment. We also observed a reduction in reduced glutathione levels in hepatocytes of inflammation-induced mice, which were normalized on alpha-crystallin treatment. The in vitro study has shown that alpha-crystallin treatment not only suppresses the increase in LPO levels but also inhibits the lipid breakdown resulting from autooxidation in mouse cerebral cortex homogenate, and strongly suggests that alpha-crystallin therapy may serve as a potent pharmacological agent in systemic inflammation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • alpha-Crystallins / pharmacology*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • alpha-Crystallins
  • Catalase
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • Glutathione