Purpose: To investigate if resveratrol can prevent sodium selenite-induced experimental cataract model in rats.
Methods: Forty-eight Spraque-Dawley rat pups were divided into 3 treatment groups: (1) normal saline-% 5 ethanol injected i.p. on postpatum day 10; (2) Na selenite (30 nmol/g body wt) injected s.c on day 10; (3) Na selenite s.c on day 10+resveratrol (40 mg/kg) i.p on days 10-13. On day 21, cataract development was graded by slit-lamp examination and photography. Encapsulated lenses and erythrocytes were analyzed for reduced glutathione (GSH) and malondialdehyde (MDA), a marker of lipid peroxidation. Lenses were also analyzed for total nitrite (TN).
Results: All control lenses in group 1 were clear. In group 2, all rats developed cataracts (grade 3-grade 6), whereas in group 3, only 9 of 16 rats developed cataracts (grade 2-grade 3). The difference of cataract frequency between groups 2 and 3 was statistically significant (p<0.05). Group 3 lenses and erythrocytes had higher mean GSH and lower mean MDA levels than those in group 2 (p<0.05). TN was highest in group 3 and lowest in group 1 (p<0.05).
Conclusions: Resveratrol suppressed selenite-induced oxidative stress and cataract formation in rats. This protective effect was supported by higher GSH and lower MDA in lens and erythrocytes. The presence of oxidative stress in selenite cataract development and its prevention by resveratrol support the possibility that high natural consumption of resveratrol in food can help prevent human senile cataract.